Writing When You Know Your Book Is Getting Published…

…is weird as fuck

I’ve never, honestly, felt like this before. I don’t have anything to compare it to! This is the first time in the history of time that a person started writing a novel with the indisputable knowledge that their stupid story will get published. (Well, it’s actually not. It’s just the first time in my immediate circle.) Before, I could’ve dragged the process on for years if I felt like it. I could’ve let plot bits dangling from their sorry little unfinished threads. Not this time. This time we (fight) actually stay awake while writing. Yes, even after a whole (and physically demanding) shift at the day job. Even when I’d rather be puzzling. Nobody’s perfect.

…is scary as shit

What if I go on an emotional downswirl and don’t manage to finish the novel this year? What if I write something so stupid it’ll destroy the whole story and I’ll have to rewrite more than a third of the novel? (Or more, like with the First Werewolf Novel, technically?) What if there’s a family emergency, or yet another Covid-related acute disaster around where I live, or something? What if I realize I’m not cut out for this writing business shit and I need to pull my fiction from our publishing cottage plans? (It’s November. Cut me some slack.)

…means brand new levels of accountability

There are already people who have read what I’ve written, even people who have liked it. We’ve announced the actual release date for the novel I’m writing right now (March 3rd, 2021), and we’re making it a preorder again, and we’re announcing the preorder rather soon (I think) and and and… and the novel needs to be done, for real, this time, by late February next year. It’s incredible how fast you grow up when you have to justify all those awesome free ISBNs to your National Library.

…means double-checking yourself all the time

Is this what I really want to write or what I think people will want to read? (Both are fine, but I still like to keep the first one a firm priority.) I already know this book will have more sex scenes than the last one because I wrote the first one last night—will people mind? And what if I anger the readers who actually know a little about Rijeka’s history by stating yet another fact wrong? (Oh, hey, alternative history is a thing I’m embracing with both my arms and my brain wide open.)

…means you need to write an even tighter first draft

Well, technically, not if you have enough time to get everything in order in those several rounds of edits people who publish a bit slower seem to be talking about. To me… it does. Because, if we’re not working on my own MS at the Shtriga HQ, we’re working on my editor’s (she’s also a writer!), or one of our upcoming two releases by other writers. Our work is never done—thus, I’m really hoping to write the cleanest first draft in the history of first drafts, this NaNo.

…is one of the best writing things that have ever happened to me.

I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of writer who hasn’t been writing just for themselves for ages. And this, ultimately—no matter the whine—is what I’ve been dreaming of for decades.

I guess I’ll live.

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash.

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