When you take a long car ride from the city to the country there is a period just after you leave your familiar surroundings of your neighborhood and just before you exit onto that long stretch of highway towards your destination. This is where the traffic tends to be. And the construction and all those little annoyances that make you wish you had a Star Trek transporter. You feel neither here nor there. Is this trip really worth it? Is this the right road? The best map? The most fulfilling destination?
I know, I know. You smell a metaphor. Well what do you expect? I am a writer.
As writers we find ourselves on this same irritating and depressing leg of the journey as we watch one project end and battle to get another started. If all you write are blogs or short stories this isn't much of a problem. Those are more like little jaunts to the grocery story. You don't even need the car for those trips. I am referring to writing novels.
They are a trip and a half. It takes incredible patience, dedication and fortitude to complete one. All along the journey are tempting exit signs promising something better. Something easier. Something more profitable. In order to pack the car, gas up, find a good radio station buckle up and head out on that road there is a mental workout that must take place. Questions that MUST be dealt with.
- Will this sell? Never a good idea to write what you think will or will not sell but lets face it–its the first thing we subconsciously want to know. The best answer? See the next question.
- Will I have fun writing this? Hey - I do not believe in suffering for my art. Its the greatest myth. Suffering is what day jobs are for. The suffering part is that annoying part of the journey I described above. But once you hit the open road of writing– when you are cruising with the wind blowing across your face and a great tune blasting it is and should be utter joy.
- Does it matter? Will this book say something? Not always important to everyone. But even the shallowest of teen romances should explore something– anything– that you as a unique human being can bring to the page.
- Will I really drive to the destination? Will I finish it and am I obligated to? You will not know until you are behind the wheel. Me, I will stop reading a book if it is not getting to me after a few chapters. There are too many other books worthy of my reading time. And this goes double for my writing time. Yet it is important to not get too distracted by the exit signs early in the journey. All those other ideas will haunt you but they may be for future trips.
- Gut check. Very tough sometimes to honestly and mean HONESTLY be truthful about what book you want to write. Hey- its a long journey. Months of putting something to page everyday. If you find yourself slogging along then maybe, just maybe, you made the wring choice. Remember the wind on your face. It will be there if you are writing your bliss.
I recently finished Book 3 of my Adventures of Rupert Starbright series. This is a wonderful series of tales filled with color, imagination, humor and heart. It drives me crazy to see the low Amazon rankings yet amazing reviews. And despite what some say, that is the only way we have to judge sales. Trust me. So you keep chin up, try to promote all you can and push your work. Yet, we all know, in our hearts we are no ad people or PR people. We are writers and its that calling to the open road we live for. We crave.
I am currently trying to find the next map to the next destination and the questions above are pounding at me 24/7. I am not good at taking breaks between journeys. I have written five novels (3 published so far) and I am itching to begin number 6. I anticipate the joyful wind...