I’m not sure what it is, but the weather in Alberta is ridiculous. It can go from freezing cold in the morning, to cooking hot in the afternoon, to a cold evening storm. Heck, we’ve even known to go from sunshine, to hail, to snow, to sunshine in a fifteen minute span. Gotta love this place.
Now as for the topic, it’s summer time. Weather be damned there is something about the month of July that makes me not want to do much of anything. Work, clean the house, write. I don’t feel like doing anything but sleep in and drink coffee. Wouldn’t that be the life? Anyways, what I’m trying to say is I haven’t continued to work on my second book. I’m blaming the month of July partly, which really isn’t fair, but the other part is nerves. I can’t deny the fact I’m a little afraid to start book two for several reasons.
The first being that I’m in the querying process of my first book. I know, as well as other writers know, the best way to push through the process is to continue writing. Work on another project and keep your mind busy so you’re not thinking about all the queries you have out there. Are the agents liking them, are they rejecting them, are they even going to give me a response if they reject it or will they simply do the “No reply = Not interested” rejection. That’s the first part of why I’m nervous to start the book. After all, what good is book two in a series if I can’t sell book one?
The second is me being scared to write book two. Plain and simple. I’m really satisfied with the story I’ve started, I love the characters that – to me anyways – have leapt of the page and taken on lives of their own. Although I know what awaits them on the next 300 pages, they do not. It should be exciting – and it will be once I start writing – but what if I can’t perform? What if I can’t live up to my own expectations for a book two? I’m not even published and I’m worrying about this. Heck, I don’t even have any agent’s interest yet and I’m worried about this. If you’re wondering why I can tell you.
I’ve got some performance anxiety because even if my book never gets published I have a set of expectations I’ve placed on myself. Goals I want to meet. I want to write a great series in as many books as possible but, each book needs to be better than the last. I would rather sell a series of 4 books, each of which is amazing and better than the preceding book, than a series of 7 books where two or three were amazing and the rest were alright, good enough to keep the readers buying my books anyways. So whether I get published isn’t the cause of the anxiety, it’s the pressure I put on myself to deliver results. That is what I need to deal with.
I like to follow the saying “The only time you fail is when you don’t try.” I will write this book, and it will be even better than the first, but mentally I need to get myself in gear. I need to put on my game face and start pounding the keys. When I started chapter one for the second book it went well. I liked the way it started, I re-read it several times and found only a few minor things I will make changes to but overall I was impressed. It started with a bang and I was excited to keep writing, but then I took a week off and have had trouble getting back into it.
So my goal for the week is to get back at it. Nothing more, nothing less, just continue with chapter two and see where it goes. After all, if I don’t write it who will be able to read it?
So you tell me: As a writer do you ever find you’re your own worse enemy? What – if anything – stops you from starting/continuing your project, and what helps get you back on track the most?
Tune in next time. Same Matt time, same Matt channel.