Let’s take stock of my creative situation, shall we?
Broken Magic is done, and has begun its rounds of the publishing industry. It’s hard to have done so much work only to have to sit and wait and hope, facing the real possibility that your work was in vain. Writing the thing is supposed to be the hard part, but once you get to the end, there’s still so far to travel.
That leaves me with time to kill, so before I kill all of my time playing Warcraft I should start working on something else. I am, too. I think. I’ve been juggling ideas and I may have even settled on one. As tough as it was to write the first novel, there’s this intense fear that I’m feeling on the second. It’s a different fear than I’ve felt before, but it’s once I’ve been waiting for.
Creative people – writers, painters, musicians – put a lot of work into their early projects. There’s a fire and a passion that goes into them that’s easy to find. You’ve been carrying that passion around your entire life, so it just forces those first stories onto you. Then you get that out, put it on a page, and a danger arises. The danger that the next project you choose will be…well, arbitrary.
You’ll like it. Sure you will. It will even seem cool. You can talk it up, you can get excited about it and you can write it. But when it makes the rounds, it’s obvious that this work isn’t the same as the last one. It lacks the fire and the conviction. It’s just good when the last one was you.
I’m not saying Broken Magic is a work of stunning genius. But it is a very personal piece of writing that came out very close to the way I wanted. Now that it’s done, I’m afraid of choosing a story just because I like it. It needs to be more than that. It needs to have everything behind it, just like the last one. Eventually – soon, maybe – I can write things just because I like the idea. If I’m writing four things at once, three of them can be larks. But now, right this second, I don’t want that book that I look at and say, “Well, it was OK.”
Does this one have everything behind it? I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of work to do before I know that. Work that needs to start now. The only question is: How much time will I waste along the way?