Thursday, December 20, 2012

Long time, no...anything

Like the title says, it's been a long, long time since I blogged and I'm not even sure what compelled me to come back here today.

Where to begin?

Since I get a lot of questions about when I'll have a new book out (it's been a while, if you haven't noticed) I think the most logical place to start is with an update on my career.

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. Poetic justice, I guess it's called. Because I have never in my life had a problem with writer's block. And yet, here I sit, working on the same damn book that I've been working on for almost 4 years.

When I first began, the words came so easily and frantically, that I thought, "I'll be finished in two weeks!" And now, here we are, four years later....

Now that I think about it, my problem isn't really writer's block. It's not that I can't seem to write this book. It's that I can't seem to stop writing it.

Since the beginning of 2009, I have been painstakingly writing and re-writing this one same work day-in-and-day out, over and over and over again. I don't know that a single day has gone by that I haven't at least thought (and, I mean, thought in depth) about this book. And, yet, I cannot seem to put it to bed once and for all.

I think part of the problem (maybe even all of it) is fear. Because once I finish this book I have no more excuses. When it's really and truly done, I will not, in good conscience, be able to allow it to continue to sit on my computer. I will have to let it go -- and letting it go means rolling the dice, taking huge chances, and making myself vulnerable.

Whether I want to admit it or not, that's terrifying. To have something that you've worked on for so long, and care so much about, suddenly be "out of your control" is a frightening prospect, to say the least. While the book remains on the privacy of my computer, I can imagine any scenario I want in my mind. I get to fantasize about what the cover will look like, how much readers will love it; I get to pretend that it's a New York Times Bestseller that will achieve phenomenal success...and just on and on and on. Before it's published, the book gets to be anything I want it to be; when I release it to the world I have to face the reality of what it actually is.

I try to remind myself, daily, "that with great risk comes great reward" and "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Substitute any motivational saying you want -- I run them all through my mind, in hopes that something will click. I try to shock myself into finishing it, "Life is short, you could die tomorrow. Do you really want this book to never see the light of day?" Somehow, though, these things don't work. I know them, logically, but they fail to kick me into action the way I know they should....

I set goals, and I don't make them. I set deadlines, and I don't keep them. I promise to show the unfinished (keep in mind, it is very nearly finished) book to agent to get some feedback and guidance, but then I don't do that either. I remind myself that even failing would ultimately be better than never trying, but then another day goes by and I still don't make a move. It's like I'm stuck in this weird, unrelenting cycle and I don't know how to get myself to break out of it.

(In the meantime, out of necessity, I went ahead and completed an entirely different novel. But I'll save that for a different blog post.)

So, that's the long and short of what's been going on with me. Of course, in the time since I last released a book, a ton has changed in the publishing industry -- namely the Kindle and e-book revolution. I have so much to say on those topics but, for now, I must get back to work.

I'll try to check back in tomorrow.