Over the last couple of weeks, I have been tentatively taking steps to begin my second novel. It’s become a more self-actualizing process than I anticipated and has forced me to ask a lot of questions about myself as a writer and where I want to go. I have a feeling that most authors face these questions and the ultimate dilemma of commercial vs. creative. There is no right or wrong answer, but their are distinct opportunities and consequences for each.
The answer I’ve scripted to this question is to make a vain attempt at having my cake and eating it, too. I have three story ideas I’m working on and without giving too much away, two that are very commercial and one that is so far outside the box it couldn’t even give a definition of “box” if asked.
Regrettably, none of these ideas involves a sequel to my debut novel which I have promised my readers will arrive this summer. I still want to write that sequel, but my fire for Bailey and her family has temporarily cooled and thus been moved to a back burner, while I focus on trying to write something that will bring me swifter (and larger) success.
To be clear, I don’t covet success as a means of ego, but a means of financial sustenance. There are many people out there like myself, who work 9 to 5 jobs to pay the bills while their dreams sit at the starting line waiting for the fuel to begin the race (bills are little buggers who don’t give a damn about the dreams you have to put off to pay for them).
But all of us who are in that situation owe it to ourselves and our talents to not let finances become an excuse for not pursuing our dreams. We just have to negotiate and weigh our goals and figure out whether we want to achieve them with efficiency or without sacrifice. I want to establish a writing career as soon as possible, and I feel that to do that I might have to sacrifice some of my creative ideals with the hopes that I will be able to find them again on the other side.
At any rate, I wanted to share with my fellow writers this article about the seven things that all writers have in common. I read it earlier today and while it doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I did come away with a better understanding of myself as an author. I especially loved the very last point on the list, it might be my new motto:
“Nothing in life can prepare you to be a writer, except everything in your life.”