I am languishing.
I have several projects in various stages of completion right now. The third and final book in my Blood of the Southlands trilogy, The Dark-Eyes War, will be out in February, and while I’m in the process of updating my webpage to include chapters from the book and other information on it, I am also waiting for that publication date. It’s sort of close, but not close enough that I can really do much about publicizing the release right now. (But while we’re on the subject, here is the cover art!) I have another book (my New Shiny from earlier this year) that is complete. In fact, I’m about 70 pages into the second book of the series. But the book isn’t contracted yet and I’m waiting to see if I might be better off rewriting the book (and re-conceiving the series) as a historical fantasy. A lot will depend on the business negotiations. So I’m kind of in limbo with that one right now. I have a third book, an extensive rewrite about which I posted during the summer. That book is finished as well, and is now with my agent and with an editor who expressed interest in seeing it. There’s really nothing I can do with that one for now except wait for feedback from both readers. And I have my new New Shiny, which has me intrigued, but which is really not ready to be written yet. It’s still in the early planning stages, and, frankly, if it turns out that I need to rewrite the first New Shiny, or if I need to do extensive revisions on the third book that I mentioned, those projects will take precedence.
The upshot is that I don’t know what to do with myself right now. I have web work to do to begin the publicizing of The Dark-Eyes’ War, and that will keep me busy for a couple of days. I can play around with the new New Shiny, as I have been for a couple of weeks now. But while the first eight months of this year were incredibly productive, the last month and a half have been frustrating and slow. It’s not that I’m getting nothing done, but rather that I haven’t been able to focus on any one project enough to feel that I’m accomplishing anything substantive. Yes, it sounds like I’m whining. Maybe I am whining. But when it comes right down to it, I am much happier when I have a project going, when I’m making steady daily progress.
Writers at all levels go through this periodically. We’re not always as productive as we want to be. I know that I’ve been in this place before — a creative doldrums, in a way. And I also know that the only way out of this is to give myself a kick in the butt and get back to work. So that, ultimately, is what this post is about. This is my very public kick in the pants. I am languishing because I don’t know what to do next. But I’m also languishing because I’m frustrated by the business side of things and because I’ve lost focus and direction. Understandable? Yeah, sure. To be expected? Maybe. But is this the way I want to finish off my year? Not at all.
“Butt in chair” means more than just sitting down at the computer and working every day. I do that — I sit down to work each morning. It’s part of my routine, and there is some power in that. But BIC also has to mean more than that — for me, it also has to imply a commitment to move past the frustrations that come with being a professional writer. It has to mean that I write despite the uncertainty, despite any crisis of confidence, despite the feeling that I’m just pounding my head against a brick wall. We at MW tell our readers all the time that this is a tough way to make a living, that to make a writing career work you have to really want it. Those aren’t just words. There are all sorts of challenges: the external ones — difficult markets, critical reviews, production issues — and the internal ones — burn-out, fatigue, self-doubt. At times, it seems that all those challenges are conspiring to keep me from getting work done. But the fact is that I’m lucky as hell to be able to do this for a living What does it say about me if I allow petty grievances to get in the way of my creative output? Am I willing to fall victim to that kind of hypocrisy? No way.
So, with this post, I am pledging to you and to myself that I’m going to throw off this languor and get back to being productive. I’m not sure yet in which direction I’m going to go — I’ll probably play with the new New Shiny. But the point is, I’m going to buckle down again. Starting right now.David B. Coe http://DavidBCoe.livejournal.com http://www.DavidBCoe.com http://magicalwords.net