In approximately three months I had completed the first draft of my first manuscript. I had started writing it in early February and by the end of April I was adding the last chapter. I spent the month of May reviewing and editing and having beta readers read it.
By the first of June I had received encouraging reviews stating how intense it was, how it had invoked such emotion. I was happy to hear the way I felt about it had translated for readers. I remember while I was writing it, I had to stop many times to wipe the tears out of my eyes.
June came and I was already thinking about the sequel. As I lined up all the next steps required to self-publish my first book, I was also beginning to write the sequel. I was electrified with the storyline I was going to tell.
On June 6th my four children went to school for the last time until August. Determined not to change my routine, I continued to write in the mornings and early afternoon. I put together 30,000 words. The plot grew larger and more complex than I had imagined and I considered making a four book series instead of just a sequel. My main character needed more space.
I added another 20,000 words by the time July rolled around. My character was in much more dire straits in this book, yet I struggled to find her voice. I had yet to cry a single writer-tear. I was not carried away with her excitement nor
“Mom can you charge this?”
did I feel the crush of her suffering. I didn’t know where her hope would be renewed or how her heart would heal.
“Can I have a yogurt? Why not? We ate two hours ago!”
I realized it isn’t the story that is failing. It’s the author. I can’t get lost in the story like I hope my future reader will. I need to, but I can’t. Life is happening all around me, demanding my attention even at my main character’s most heartbreaking moments.
It is now early July. We have seven more weeks of summer vacation before the kids go back to school. I realize now that trying to force a novel out of these weeks is not going to be fruitful. I certainly have plenty of other things to focus on before my first book will be published. Much of that is already in the works.
But I can’t just stop writing for seven weeks. So I’ve decided to put the sequel on hold and instead write a collection of poetry and short stories about growing up in Tennessee with a focus on gender expectations. I think the subject will be manageable for writing with kids home and interruptions every few minutes.
When the end of August comes, I will be ready to sit for hours and weep while I spin the tale from my heart to the screen. It needs all of me, and I will wait to write it until I can give it my everything.