Thank you so much for having me here today! I am still ramped up over my release this month – my debut book Dark Harmony from RedSage Publishing. I am sure everyone here knows or has imagined what that moment is like, seeing your book for sale (noting the little price tag that means YES, you can get paid for having THIS much fun!).
It’s a little different having an e-book release than a paper book, but not a lot. I can still go the “shop” to see it. I can still tell friends where it is for sale, even if I can’t hold it in my hands. But I’m not here to discuss the similarities or the difference between e-book and paper book publishing. Instead I want to talk about the importance of writing The Next Book.
Yes, I am deep into writing the sequel for Dark Harmony. The name isn’t settled, but the basic plot is. Except I am stuck. Or at least I was stuck for almost a month, but I ‘m not any longer. Why? How did this happen? The sequel to Dark Harmony isn’t the second book I have written, or even the third or fourth. I have another line, a dragon shape-shifter series that will be releasing book one, Building Magic, in a few months from Red Sage and a sci-fi series that is still trying to find a home. So why was I having trouble? I think it had to do with fear.
Every writer has it. The little itch between the shoulder blades that says someone is looking at you. Someone, right now, is reading your book. DO they like it? Don’t they? What if they do like it but book two isn’t as good? And so I let myself get caught up in a cycle of putting off writing that sequel. I started something new. I wrote journal entries. I blogged. I twittered and facebooked till I was too tired to write. And so the first quarter of my unfinished book sat there, alone and neglected. The marketing I was doing was important, no qualms there. But I wasn’t writing.
I started to dream about it. It wasn’t a good thing.
Now what did I do to get OUT of the cycle? Pray to the muse? Ignore the problem? Nope. I had a friend tell me I was an idiot. I knew I was, after all. I just needed her to say it. And then, I got out a notepad and sat down and thought about the manuscript that I wanted to write, and what I had written. And I made noted about what I should change, notes about motivation, then notes about what might happen next. It all came pouring out into practically illegible scribbles of ink on my little notepad.
It was the epiphany. Sadly, it was the same epiphany I had a year ago, and a year before that. If you want to be a writer, sit down and write.
All the things we tell ourselves subconsciously about not writing are silly. So when you need a reboot here are five things to get you started again:
1. Have a friend tell you how stupid your fear is.
2. Get out a pen and scribble free notes about the book – anything about the book you want to write. Plot, motivation, description, scenes.
3. If the book you want to write isn’t the book you have to write, for contract reasons, then scribble down the notes about the book you want to write, and then put them down again. Begin again at step one.
4. Pick a scene and begin with description – that is the easiest part. What does it look like/smell like, sound like, taste like? Suddenly you have a word count
5. Write for 30 min. Go, get up stretch for 15 min. Do something, but think about the story. Return to the chair. Write again. POW. You are a storyteller, once you start, you will find the thread again.
6. DO NOT give up
Okay I lied, there were six.
Dark Harmony – January 2010 – http://www.eredsage.com/