Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Write Like Nobody's Watching

So, everything here happened under my pseudonym. Which most people still don't know. Although some people at work like shouting it out to see if I look up. I generally don't. It's going to be awkward in about 2 weeks when I'm at a convention and people call me by "name". 

That bitch, they'll think. She just ignored me. I'll never buy one of her books again! 

I think I'd better write my pseudonym on my hand or something. 

Anyway. 

Back in 2012 (I think!) I published a book that turned out to be fairly popular. If you're into romance. But I mean, people really, really liked it. I wasn't sure that they would -- I wasn't sure that I did -- but I've never been a good judge of my own work. It's why I took so long to submit anything. 

And before you know it, a few people had asked if there would be a sequel. 

And I said yes. 

I say yes to most crazy ideas. If I didn't, I'd never get anything done. 

But here's the thing. I've started that sequel at least 4 different times, and I can't get it past 25 000 words. Because I know people are waiting to read it. 

For me, releasing a book is like dropping a stone into a well. You might hear it hit the surface, you might not. You don't care. You've got other stones. It doesn't even matter. In fact, you're bored now, so you should probably go inside and watch some TV for a while. 

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Basically, the key to not stressing about how a book is received is to be distracted by shiny things and oblivious to what's going on all around you. This is a role I've been practicing my entire life. 

I write like nobody's watching, because nobody is. I take weird plot detours, strange shortcuts, and if I want to kill a main character just for the hell of it, why not? I'm the only one invested in this, after all. 

Well, I was. 

Because people are waiting to read it. 

I've stalked reviews and discussions on Goodreads. I know what people want, and what they don't want. And I think that maybe that was a mistake. I think that now I'm too fixated on giving people a sequel that lives up to their expectations, instead of just writing the book that I want to write, and, when the time comes, dropping that pebble in the well again. 

I've never tried to write anything before with the weight of expectations on me. It's flattering, but it's also a little bit crippling. 

So my goal for the next few weeks is to stop worrying, stop overthinking it, and get back to writing like nobody's watching. 

Wish me luck! 


3 comments:

  1. Can't say I've ever been there, but it is something I've seen come up with those who suddenly have an audience. 'Cause like you say, the first time was just for you. Like making yourself a weird sandwich and putting a few more out for the birds. And suddenly you got people leaving you notes, asking for another. Like, wait, you actually took a bite of that? And now you want something just like that, by which you mean something you haven't had before but is just like that other one? Oh, bother...

    One thing I've seen musicians do is tell themselves they're doing just what you said - playing like no one's listening. Fooling around, making demos. Seeing what's there. And in that I wish you all the best.

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  2. Sometimes I think even the idea that people will eventually read what you write is enough to create a hurdle in writing so um yes you're right. Write like nobody is reading! That is the only way through the crippling silence. <3

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    1. It's crazy how we can trip ourselves up by worrying about stuff like this, isn't it? Writers are crazy.

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