Saturday, 21 July 2007

Oh, hell. That second book.


The agent's assistant loved the first book. The agent loved it, and offered representation. The editor at Dorchester loves it. She's buying it. My job right now is to focus on that second book, and beyond.

The second book is more or less finished. Since last year, actually. The agent read it, suggested a few changes (that I totally agree with) and that's what I'm ostensibly working on now. The problem is, I'm not. Working, that is. Every now and then I do a bit, but then I get sidetracked. I mean, in a major way.

First it was the teaching stint from January to May. When that ended I launched into the edits of book 2 - and stalled in grand fashion. Spent weeks working on the proposal for a nonfiction giftbook, and doing the research for the first three chapters. Finished that and started this blog. Then there dawned the day of the widget. Man, that was fun. Followed by the hunt for chicklets and, oh, lots of desultory web-surfing. Not to mention writing down some ideas for novel #3. Why am I even considering #3 when my agent is waiting for #2? I berate myself.

Every time I think about that second book something looms up in my head. I know what it is. It's fear. It's resistance. What if this one's no good? What if I make the changes and instead of getting better, the story does the opposite? What if it never sells? What if I'm a one-book wonder? What if what if what if...?

I've re-read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I love that book. (Thank you Angela Canales of the Woosterdafoe group). Pressfield shines an unflinching beam on every one of my neuroses, excuses, fears and rationalizations. He says what every writer who has been through the fire says: the only way to overcome the bogey is to write. Sit there. Do it. Even if you think your writing stinks, do it. Even if you know it stinks. And keep doing it. That's the only way.

I'm taking a deep breath, and making a resolution for next week. I won't go anywhere near the net until I've put in my time on #2. Every day. This crap has gone far enough.

9 comments:

kim said...

I am knowing what to write. Writing comes easy to me. Prolific is my first name, Eloquent is my second. My last name is Highly-Paid-Published-Writer.

There, some mantras for you. Hope they work fast as I'd hate to see you stop blogging so soon. Although I do understand the need to step away from the internet from time to time.

Here, wishing you a very productive week of book #2 work.

wordtryst said...

Gosh, no, kim. I don't intend to stop blogging - I'm having too much fun. I just want to get the writing done every day before I hook up Mozilla and enter Cyberearth.

I like those mantras, esp. the last one...

Productive week, here I come.

KeVin K. said...

My favorite writing how-to book is The Fieldstone Method by Jerry Weinberg.

As for hitting deadlines: There is no try, only do. (Egads! Now I'm quoting Star Wars.)
Though I'm more likely to give up such notorious time-wasters as sleep before denying myself the internet, I learned the hard way that you do what it takes to hit your mark. Otherwise you might not be invited back.

kim said...

Oh, good.

wordtryst said...

Thanks for the book tip, kevin. I'll add it to my wish list.

I'd be more disciplined if I had a deadline, so I'm giving myself one. It's worked for me before. External deadlines work wonders, of course, but nothing beats the gratification of adhering to one's own.

I'll post about my progress. That should help with motivation; wouldn't want to publicize my sloth, now, would I...

wordtryst said...

...and I like my sleep, but the Internet is better. No conflict there. Crawling into bed in the wee hours - sometimes just short of daylight - with my eyeballs barely connected to the sockets... That's the norm for me.

PJ said...

My copy of the War of Art has just arrived, so I'm hoping that it will give me the boost I need to get going. Hope that you're working hard on novel 2. :)

wordtryst said...

pj, I hope you enjoy the book and find it as inspiring as I did. It really helps with overcoming resistance - I'd put it down in the middle of a chapter, all fired up, and go write.

PJ said...

Great, that's just what I need right now.