Friday, November 21, 2008

Writing Your Second Novel

A co-worker recently had her first book accepted for publication from a respectable publisher & has a three book deal. It's the type of fiction I really love to read, and that I have a couple of books "in the works" myself. (I have two which fit that genre, and a couple which are other genres but which I think will be cool, too.)

I am a little bit jealous, on the one hand, but I truly am also happy for her; it ultimately gives me hope. Hopefully the jealousy is the type that spurs me-- makes me get up off my butt and DO it. Like when someone runs past you, making you put in a little more effort, run a little bit faster to try to catch up. See-- people I actually know have managed the task; it's not just people from far far away with brilliant & genius gifts, awesomely disciplined writerly habits. She is a regular, funny, normal person who writes at a coffee shop and stresses over student behavior, just like me.

And dammit, that has to mean that I can do it too. (This is where it's not about the jealousy but more about a productive kind of hope.) If she could do it, with the English major analysis of the type of book & direct thought about how to create a hit, perhaps I do have it in me, too.

This summer, I did write 10 awesome pages on my first idea for a similar type of concept. I have GOT to figure out a way to make more time to write that stuff for myself. The kiddos are getting to a place where I can leave them to play and trust them to not tear down the house TOO much. And I wish I were like Toni Morrison, who wrote her first book, The Bluest Eye, with kids on her lap. Amazing.

I want to write! Dammit! It doesn't have to be the Bluest Eye-- it can be more like Charlaine Harris or something equally lowbrow. I'm good with that. Muse, please guide my fingers along the keyboards of my life. :)

So I decided to think of it like that old joke about working on your second million dollars, because the first one is too hard to get. So now, I'm working on my SECOND novel. And I will try, very hard, to set time aside over the holiday break to really work on it. I wrote the cool 10 pages I have in one afternoon. If I could do that much in the 20 or so days of break then I'd have a decent sized first novel in progress! So, that's my goal for the break. If I fall off the wagon, I'll probably just work on some academic stuff which is not nearly as interesting. :)


Anonymous said...

Wondering, Dr., is there is fear blocking your way? I've been struggling with something similar. Yeah, can't find the time, and we are busy. But so are the people who make it. Like you say, they do it. What keeps us from really doing it? I know part of it for me is fear -- fear I'll fail, and fear I'll succeed.


Anonymous said...

just FINISHING a novel, good writing, is exhausting. the task of having to jump through the million hoops to even have it looked at by these "agents" or "publishers" is too daunting. i tried it. failed at it. burned the pages in the fireplace to keep warm three winters ago. it seemed apropos, given the high cost of heating. and so i was happy w/the purpose of the book. it did its job quite eloquently and efficiently. now i'm just floundering and lost like hell. and it seems to be a good place. Writing Purgatory; God's Waiting Room; waiting to be called in, all the while listening to Tom Jones muzak over the loudspeakers. it's the end of the world as i know it, and i feel fine...