I want to thank each and every one of you who has supported me in any way in my journey as an author. (Before you get ahead of yourself, no, I’m not quitting. Sounds a bit like that, eh?) Every time I am hard on myself about what I’m writing and the quality of my writing, I think about all the people who always ask when the next book is coming out. It’s a pressure, but it’s a wonderful pressure to have.
At this point, I think most of you have noticed that I didn’t release a novel in 2015. That wasn’t in my plans at all, but it happened. Writing Dark Echoes took a lot out of me, but so much more than that happened. And so much less, really.
To aspiring authors, I would like to say that it gets easier. Even three books in, I imagine the authors out there who, having written one book, now get right in the chair with no more intimidation over the blank page or the many thousands of words to come. That’s not the way it worked with me.
I wrote many words over the course of the year, but I finished nothing. No first drafts to hate and then hack away at until I could find something to love. I pantsed a few, plotted more, but I never completed a first draft. I kept telling myself that it was burnout over Dark Echoes, but that ‘reason’ quickly turned into ‘excuse’ the more time past.
When I could finally be honest with myself, I realised I was overwhelmed. What if Dark Echoes was the best I could do? What if I couldn’t write like that again? What if I couldn’t complete another novel? What if it was a fluke? What if I tried to write the next book in that world and people hated it?
To be frank, I was also lazy. It’s hard to sit and imagine. To push out words – especially when your characters stubbornly refuse to make anything easy. (Mine you, after writing Lily…) There are so many distractions, shiny things, easy entertainment. Yes, I was compelled to write, but I didn’t have the discipline to finish.
I was talking with a friend recently about my writing and said, “If I finished everything I started last year, I could release at least four novels this year.” I said it as a joke, but it came back to play on repeat in my head.
I don’t like to make promises in regards to my work because I’m always afraid that I will fail. Someway, somehow, I will fail. (Self-sabotage experts will recognise the mindset.) That being said… I do want to make a promise to you, the readers. You deserve as much for supporting a self-published author through her journey of too short, too long, and – finally – perhaps just right.
Things are difficult in my personal life, so I won’t promise times, dates or even titles (just yet). But I do promise you this: I promise to do better. I promise to push through and do everything in my power to release something this year. I know my books are not the most extraordinary or important, but I also know that – even a year later – some of you are eagerly awaiting to read what I come up with next.
For all of you, I will do better.
Anyone who knows me in person has my full (and no doubt later regretted (wink)) permission to ask me anything about my writing. Even an endless stream of “is it done yet?” will remind me of my promise. It will remind me that I can and will do it because I have done it before.
So. “How is the next book going?”
Slowly. Riley is stubborn in completely different ways to Lily, and it doesn’t help that Lily and Charlotte keep barging into my head because they want me to start on Echo Falls 4…
Best wishes to each and every one of you,