Shifting Gears

Shifting Gears

I’d posted on Instagram two months ago after I finished the final draft of my novel and was re-shelving my books. At the moment it felt great; I was entering the next phase of my writing life, floating the little messages in a bottle that are query letters.

And I got to return to research, thinking about my next book. Now, query letters out, and the waiting game begun as rejections come in and new queries go out, I’m surprised to find I’m going a little stir crazy. After I went to work full time as a writer, I worked hard to develop the “write every day” discipline, and quickly came to love it. Running up to my study every day after coffee, hammering away some days for a full 8 hours and producing as many words as I could muster (though some days it was a negative number, for sure). I loved the frenzy of drafting new prose, and surprisingly, came to love wielding the editorial scalpel. (My first draft was 140,000 words, my final is 82,000!)

But the waiting? It’s hard. There’s this “edge of the precipice” feeling, that I’m sure is just another in the long line of firsts for me as I discover the writer’s life. I feel like if I dive into the next book, I might get interrupted when (if?) I get an agent and then when (if?) I get a publisher and revisions are suggested.

Would it be so bad to be interrupted, though? I used to be (and kind of still am) a champion multitasker, working on 10+ work projects at a time. But somehow, being in “writing mode” is an all-in activity for me. And perhaps I don’t ever want to return to the way my writing had gone before I’d started writing full time: making progress in bursts every few years.

All that said, I’m expressing this fear because I know that I have to get over it. If I’m committed to being an ongoing writer, I’ll get interrupted: editing, book tours (hopefully!), conferences, the business of being a writer. So I have to learn to shift gears, revving it all up, and coming back to a halt–stop and go traffic in my creative life.


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