Toward the end of 2019, I got really productive and finished two first drafts, which was gratifying, and then started editing them, which is painstaking, and began to think about marketing, which is downright painful.
And now here I am, writing a post to remind myself why this part needs to happen.
After I came back from a trip to Honolulu last August, I started working on a sequel to my January 2019 release Spiders in a Dark Web. I had another story to tell about the characters, and I’d been wanting to set a book in Hawaii for a while. It came together fairly quickly, getting me about two thirds of the way through when I realized that I had no idea how it was going to end. I often don’t, so I wasn’t too worried about it; as much as I’d like to push on, I know to step back, giving myself a little distance to figure it out.
Around that same time, I heard the whisper of a different idea. I listened and dove blithely into writing another story. I made no assumptions about how it would turn out, deeply inspired to see where it would take me. A few weeks later, the first draft was complete, and The Element of Truth became my 15th novel.
I began editing immediately, a long process requiring multiple reads and devices and helpful readers and research, and meanwhile circled back to the Dark Web sequel, waiting patiently with 50,000 words and no ending. During those weeks away from it the rest of the plot had taken shape, and I finished the first draft just after the holidays, sat back in satisfaction for a day or so, then resignedly returned to editing The Element of Truth.
This brings me to today, with draft number two of the Dark Web sequel ready for reading, as I also start to review the final draft of The Element of Truth and work on a release date.
It’s exciting and satisfying to have two more books under my belt, bringing the total to 14 published and 16 written. I appreciate being able to look back on such a productive, creative few months, keeping me motivated to continue the editing process and plan for the marketing of both releases. I don’t particularly like or enjoy marketing through any channel, and suffer through editing as a highly necessary chore, so it’s extremely helpful to have that motivation.
This is the part that comes after the entertaining challenge of pulling together a first draft, living with the characters, writing dialogue in my head as I dry my hair in the morning, searching for obscure references and ideas online, scanning Google Maps satellite view of city streets far away, and basically loving every second. As eager as I am to finish a book once I start writing it, and as thrilling as that moment is when I realize it’s done, I’m also happiest to be in the middle somewhere, with pages and pages left still to write and no one else involved.
Soon enough, it’ll be Out There for all who choose to buy, borrow, read, rate and review, no longer my secret happy project. Of course, getting it Out There is the whole point of publishing it, and ultimately it brings me endless joy and fulfillment to share a book with readers. It just takes a lot to make that jump from private to public, jolting me outside of my comfort zone every time, challenging me in different ways than the writing ever could.
It isn’t always easy to keep ourselves on track when it comes to creative projects—to circle back to an unfinished work, grind through writer’s block, fill that odd lumpy plot hole, and continue through the tasks that we don’t enjoy, whatever they may be. I never find this after part as inspiring, rewarding or interesting as the actual creation of a book. But at the same time, it’s always, always worth it.
P.S. I’ll be posting more information about The Element of Truth soon, and hopefully setting a release date in the coming weeks. I’m also excited about a speaking opportunity that has come my way for an outstanding cause and will share as I learn more.