So in the unlikely event that you managed to miss all the hooting and hollering I did last week – The King in Darkness was released last Thursday and is available now. (Details here if you would like them) This was the completion (sort of) of a long process that stretches back about 4 years, when I first started writing the story, through finding a publisher and now to the book being ready for people to read. (Of course this starts a whole new, and quite unfamiliar process of promoting it, but I’m cheerfully ignoring that as I write today) It feels pretty good.
Part of why it does is that I have seen this thing through to completion, which I had never done before with a fiction project of this length. That, in turn, got me to thinking about how I have done with the other projects I’ve had on the go since. Kind of a mixed bag, alas.
I started the spring/summer with the intent to work on another novel. The plan/hope was to have another completed draft done by fall. I started out under that banner, wrote a good bit of it but it isn’t finished. I got distracted partway along by the ideas for another novel project, and pretty much switched over to that by the summer’s end; I have written a good chunk of it as well, but again, not finished. I have, I think by any standard, done a lot of work, but I don’t have A Work to show at the end of it.
This is always one of my problems as a writer. If you have been reading the blog for a while you’ll remember that I get progressively more critical of my ideas as time passes, and I have always tended to get diverted by a cool new idea (which I am not critical of, yet). I suppose I’m fortunate in having a relatively steady percolation of ideas that I get excited about, but I know that if I am going to do this Writing Thing seriously at all, I have to get things finished. Writing whatever as the mood takes me is fine from an artistic sense, but not so much from a professional sense.
The King in Darkness got done by putting all other projects aside and really forcing myself to work on nothing but it until it was finished. I think I’d better go back to what has worked in the past. So, new plan – one which I will hopefully stick to – is to continue with the second novel idea, in part because it’s the one I’m currently most excited about and that the mind gears are currently threshing up ideas for. Also, in practical terms, it is the sequel to The King in Darkness, and perhaps continuing that story is the easier road to follow for a few reasons.
We’ll see how it goes. I am going to give myself at least a brief space of time to enjoy the feeling of completion of a process, and then really try to refocus on starting some new ones. I’m not sure to what extent reading this may have been useful or interesting for other writers, but thinking through it and writing it down has been helpful to me, so I thank you for your indulgence.
I’ll try to do better the next time.