I started writing the first draft* of a fantasy standalone novel called BLOOD PRICE last week. I’m pretty excited about it’s progress, considering I have 20,000 solid words down that, once upon a time, I thought were complete rubbish, and still over two months to get the rest of the words written, so I’m pretty ahead in my writing game at the moment. I’m really excited about the idea. Though I’m not sure if it’s the most original idea I’ve ever had, I do think it has a nice blend of originality and marketability that gives this idea a lot of promise; so much so–in my mind, anyway–that I’m actually really excited to get this book written, edited, beta read and then edited again, so I can actually send it out into the trenches and see how it does.
A foolish, brave part of me believes, on my good days, that this idea, this book, will be the one that helps me find an agent to partner up with me during my career.
It’s a really promising thought and helps keep me going during those days where I feel like everything I write is shit and I’m not ever going to go anywhere.
And yet, I find myself having another thread of thoughts which have the exact opposite effect: inspiring fear and worry where, honestly, I shouldn’t be feeling them.
I’m an aspiring author, but a definite writer. There’s no doubt that I have the chops to be a writer. I’m writing the first draft of my seventh book. Of course I’m a writer. Now, am I good enough writer to actually get anything that I write published? That remains to be seen. It’s probably not surprising, though, that I daydream about becoming an author all of the time. All the time. With the confidence I feel at the promise of this novel, it’s impossible not to continue dreaming about getting an agent because of this novel and then this novel getting published. But, of course, I don’t stop thinking there and I start thinking about my career as an author, finally getting started after over a decade of chasing it.
And I grow terrified.
Because, say that does happen. Say I finish this draft, take it through the necessary rounds of edits in order to get it up to snuff and query it. I get an agent. It gets published. But even before then, while my book is on submission, my agent asks me question. A simple one, but one that, in this made up, fantasy scenario, has me terrified.
What are you writing next?
At this moment in time, I have no idea how I would answer that.
I have a trilogy that I know will never get published traditionally, because everything about it is saturated for the traditional market. I have a quintet where I have the first book written and polished, the second book drafted and the other three I still need to outline, let alone write. It’s a series I plan to write to completion, even though it has been rejected before due to marketability concerns. So, even after getting an agent, it may not be the project they want my main focus to be, as I’ll probably do the hybrid author thing and self-publish that series. I have an idea for a sci-fi duology that is pretty rough and I’m not sure I can even make it good enough to actually write it.
Other than that, I have no other ideas floating around in my head.
In my made-up scenario, I’d have to answer with, Nothing, at the moment, which then, of course, results in me being a one-book-author who is dropped by their agent and oops, there goes the dream you’ve always wanted.
I hope you’re laughing, at this point. Or at least shaking your head.
Because, wow, Nicole, can you overthink any more?
There’s a lot of problems with that fear. One, there is so much, “if this, then that,” going on, that almost all of it is pointless to worry about, because there are too many unknowns within the scenario to really concern myself with, especially considering the first step to jumpstart any of this being possible, is a book that doesn’t even have a finished first draft yet. But the underlying fear is that I’ll somehow stop coming up with ideas and stories to write about.
I know, right?
When that fear takes me fully, I almost believe that’s even possible, even when I already have evidence stacked against that. Most noteable: the fact that I am currently working on my seventh book since I started writing seriously, at 15. Seven books in 10 years isn’t too shabby, if I do say so myself. And when I first started this journey, I couldn’t imagine completing that first draft of my first book, let alone the entire trilogy. The quintet I was working on wasn’t even a thought. Neither was the sci-fi I shelved or the book I’m working on now, that I’m seriously so jazzed about. Not to mention the fact that, last year, I joined a short story blog project that has resulted in, already, 12 short stories from yours truly. I write a new one every month; something I never thought I could do, yet here I am, writing at least 12 short stories a year. All of those come from prompts, but there are at least two that I wouldn’t mind thinking about a little bit more and trying to see if I can coax a novel out of them.
And you’re telling me, brain, that you’re nervous that I’m going to run out of ideas once my career “officially” starts, even though I’ve been at it for ten years, already?
I’m just getting started.
* I’ve mentioned this a couple of times, but this draft is technically the third, if you count the first time I tried to write it and then I deleted that draft and started over, before shelving the book. So no, I didn’t write over 20,000 new words in one week, I’m sorry to report. But it’s tiring to continue referencing this as the book I shelved but I’m now working on again, so first draft it is!