After having banged out 3 long manuscripts in about the same amount of years, two of which became books, and one of which is looking for a home, I find myself adrift. I have some ideas for a novel, but they aren’t coming together. It’s frustrating. Plot should be the easiest thing, but nothing seems interesting enough to write for more than a few pages. Am I done?
At a book reading, someone asked if I had considered writing a book that would sell more commercially. And the answer is no. I can’t write without having my whole heart in it. I don’t see a point in writing just for eventual payoff. And I realized with my last three that I had written about things that I felt deep in my heart. Maybe that’s why it’s become so hard to write lately.
Not that I don’t care about a multitude of things, but nothing seems to rise to the top. Am I done?
Maybe. I can’t see another memoir–though there are things I could say, I don’t know that the world needs that, or that I need more wide-eyed people telling me that I am “so brave” for “being so vulnerable.” Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that people see how hard it can be to dredge up emotions and plaster them on a page. But my books are less about trying to be vulnerable than trying to tell a story, and if you hold back in writing, as in life, if you put up walls to people who want to know you, then you will end up with a book that is unread and a life that is lonely.
So am I done? Maybe. Lately writing has come to feel like another thiing I have to do, a way to feel guilty for not doing it. Or maybe I just need this extended hiatus. I have also been reluctant to push Fire in the Heart. I feel like I pushed Geography as much as I could, and in the end it didn’t gain me a lot financially. I’d rather have people discover the books and enjoy them than flail around the country promoting them at the expense of the rest of my life. I have friends who are really relentlessly good at promoting, but I shy away from it.
This all sounds rather discouraging, but I don’t mean it that way. I need to recalculate. I need to figure a few things out.