I have started the next project. It began as a novel. Then it became a short story. Now it might be a novel again. Whatever it is, I’m enjoying it.
It has taken me a while to remember that I love writing. When I finally finished THE HERO a few months ago and shoved it out of the nest and into the inbox of agents, I was a bit lost. OK–a lot lost. I had spent every day for the last two and a half years with those characters. I knew them better than I know my friends. And then they were gone. I vowed not to look at the book again until an agent or editor asks for revisions, and in the meantime, I was free to begin the next big project.
While revising and revising and polishing and revising and polishing THE HERO, I dreamed of the day when I could start all over again and write anything I wanted. The next book could be about anything! I could write a romance, mystery, history, picture book, or epic. It could take place in any time period, dimension, or world, populated by zombies, or robots, or dinosaurs…
The possibilities were endless–and overwhelming when I finally found myself in front of that blank computer screen. I started six short stories and three novels, and nothing stuck. I missed knowing everything about my characters. I missed knowing the beginning, middle, and end of my story. And I was afraid to commit to a project, since I’d be working on it for the next two or more years. That’s a lot of pressure.
I tried to relax and just write without worrying about what I was writing. I’m not that great at relaxing, so it has taken me a few months to get here, to this place of enjoying the freedom of the first draft. The first draft can be anything. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Simply put, a first draft can suck.
When I allowed myself to suck, I allowed myself to relax. And lo and behold, once I relaxed I began to enjoy writing again. And then, out of all those false starts, one idea began to stick. It’s a pretty muddled idea. It’s strange and might sound silly, so I’m not going to tell you anything about it.
I will just say that it began as a novel. Then it became a short story. Now it might be a novel again. Whatever it is, I’m enjoying it. And that’s all that matters.