How do you decide what to write next after you finish a book?
It is possible that when you finish writing a book your mind doesn’t go instantly to the next one you’ll write, and that’s fine, too. We all have our own degrees of writer crazy. Mine happens to be particularly amped up at this point in my artistic growth. I just can’t get enough. My heart soars when I put one project to bed and get to choose between the competing storylines in my head for my next big focus.
Right now I have two book threes to write, each the final book in a trilogy, so that’s a little extra pressure on this choice. One of them is overdue, and it should be my next book. I’d promised when I started this last one that it was going to be my next book…
It’s not! It’s not going to be my next book! lol
I just finished writing Crestfallen (Water Rites, #2), my editor is still on her first read through, and I’m on to Castle and Crown (Water Rites, #3)! I can’t help myself. I’m following Lorelei into the deep — I have to finish my selkies and evil mermaids ode to the sea.
How can I justify this? Oh, jeez. I can’t.
If you’re a writer you might feel me. Maybe you’ve faced a similar choice. Did you also come down on the side of the project you’re most excited about?
I think that following the excitement means that I accumulate more wordcount overall. Basically, I win from a production stand-point, and I’m also ecstatically happy about working this way.
Why do I win from a production stand-point?
This goes back to another particular about my workstyle, and that’s my “many projects are better than one!” motto. I always have at least two major books (novellas or novels) started. Sometimes I get more backed up than that, but then I start to be berzerk and I quickly tame that beast by putting some of them away in their files for much later. (Right now I’m resisting starting the first book in my next series, for this very reason. Two book threes! FOCUS, WOMAN!)
The benefit comes into play because I inevitably get bogged down in a project I’ve been heavily focused on. I’ll find myself unwilling to even open the document one day. It suddenly feels like a mountain I’m being forced to climb, and today, I just don’t want to. Now…when I’ve tried to be strict with myself about focusing on one project only, these days have been a loss. I just won’t write at all. But when I give myself the freedom to say, “Hey, not feeling that today, but look at this bright and shiny over here….” I end up with some great story starts, and sometimes with the momentum to finish a short story, or to write the first scene or two of a future book and a bunch of notes about why I’m excited about it. The day isn’t a total loss. It’s also useful on the occassions that I have a lot of time to write. Sometimes I’ll be able to drive my major project forward for a few hours, but then I get bogged down and I don’t want to work on that anymore. But if I switch over to bright and shiny….echo what I said a moment ago. 🙂
Overall, I get far more accomplished by going where the excitement lives, and I’m also a happier writer.
My next post is going to be about finishing what you start, because that’s the other side to this coin. The key for me has been making time for both. I know that I need to be moving one major project toward publication at all times, since publishing regularly is one of my goals. And then I know I’ll make detours along the way to do whatever the hell I want, because why else would I be doing this at all?
For a full list of Own Your Writing Career posts in the order they were written, visit my Writers page. I’ll be back with another Own Your Writing Career post next Thursday. Until then, happy writing!!
“Own Your Writing Career: Take Advantage of Excitement!” copyright © 2015 by J.R. Pearse Nelson