Thursday, April 5, 2012

Writing The Second Novel, Self-Imposed Deadlines and Other Things That Make Me Want To Eat Too Many Baked Goods

Writing a second book is daunting. You've written that first one and you feel solid with it, and if it sells, the reality is that your agent and publishers will likely be expecting something in the same vein. If I launch from writing a snarky romantic comedy into now writing a dark, edgy drama, it raises the dilemma of how to market me as an author. Which book truly defines my writing style? What can readers expect from me? So despite the fact that I spent a good chunk of my year invested in writing a dark, edgy drama, I've recently shifted gears to switch back to the genre in which I feel most comfortable, that does truly echo where I hope to build a career because it's what I know I do really well. As a writer friend recently told me, after I've established myself more as an author and have a few books under my belt, there will be a time down the road when I can bring that dark, edgy drama back and play with it, but for now, I need to work on what readers will have an appetite for if (excuse me, WHEN) this first book sells. :)

So it feels like I'm making up for a lot of lost time right now. I say lost rather than wasted, because even though it was spent in service of a book that I've put on hold for now, any writing time is never wasted. Every sentence, every description, every line of dialogue, is greasing the wheels, so to speak. Everything we write, even if it never sees the light of day, is a chance to improve craft.

There is never a time I feel the time clock ticking to finish up whatever project I'm working on more than early April. With Spring Break behind us, I become acutely aware that there are only a little more than two months left of school, and soon my quiet writing days of solitude will be competing with the strains of Disney Channel sitcoms and kid chatter. Not that I'm complaining - I love my kids and the idea of not waking up at 5:20 a.m. every day to make lunches is always a welcome thing, but it means I have to drastically alter the way I write, when I write, and try to not let go of whatever momentum I've built.

It's a lot of pressure to look at such a tiny window of time and know that there is a lot I wish to accomplish within it writing-wise, but in a way, it might be just the kick in the pants I need. It's easy with month after month of everyone being gone from 8-2:30 to let a writing day slide here or there, but since every one feels precious right now, it's time to batten down the hatches. Even though there is no actual "deadline" for me to finish this book, self-imposing one is a great way to discipline myself to keep my butt in that chair and stop accepting excuses to procrastinate. After all, the more I get done now, the more connected to my story I'll be, and the harder it will be to walk away from. It's like my own NaNoWriMo.

Okay, I'm done procrastinating by writing this blog post. Must. Write.


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