No, not that one.
But seriously. I don’t know how it is for other writers (we’re all different even though there are overlaps), but when I am done with a book, as in it’s close to a finalish stage, I have NO IDEA how I managed it. The thought of starting again with a first draft is horrifying. Like having climbed Everest, starved, weather-beaten, exhausted, only to be told, “lol actually here’s ANOTHER EVEREST!”
The weirdest part is if I look back at old novels, I can’t actually picture myself having made that thing. And that it must have been a fluke and I’ll never make another. Sometimes when I go back to old drafts I close them in despair because there’s no way I could finish them because I’ve become a worse writer, and everything is broken. EVERYTHING. The book is broken, my head is broken, I can’t word even.
I don’t know how to get started on another book. I don’t know what to tell people who go through the same wrenching despair at the thought of having to write from the start again, knowing how much work lies ahead. How much terrible, terrible writing.
I can tell you that somehow I do manage it. Sometimes it takes me years to finish book, and I have works in progress that have been lying in the splinters of their own bones, choked on their force-fed feathers, abandoned for years. I tell myself one day i’ll come back, but it never seems to be the right day.
The Three Faces is done for now, though. My agent has a draft, and my Alpha Reader has given it the thumbs-up, so I am hopeful there will be forward motion on it this year or next, and in the meanwhile I will play with a book I’ve been writing on and off for a wee while. It’s written in snatches and snippets of waking dreams, out of order, out of context, out of any kind of rational narrative. But it makes me happy. Sometimes happy is all we can ask for after we’ve finished a novel.
If I have to try and work on something now that I think I could sell, I’d probably just cry. So instead I play.
If you can’t work, perhaps it’s time to choose joy over cash – whether that means fanfic, or watching movies, or whatever. Very, very few of us have to earn a living writing. Don’t feel like you have to be churning out a book every six months. You don’t. And for some writers, doing that makes us suffer, and our art suffers with.