I have been slaving over my second book for a long, long time. I originally got the idea for Lucia (Lucy) Melania Samantha Rossi's story about three years ago and whipped out a quick fifteen pages for the SCBWI conference. The premise had problems, but I fell in love with the characters, and decided she was worth the next chunk of my life. I noodled around as I started the submissions process on my first book.
A few short months later my whole world would change as I landed an agent and sold my first novel, The Secret Hum of a Daisy. It was a two-book deal and I felt confident that I would be able to wrap up Hum and then get started on the new project lickety-split.
I didn't know what was coming. The year leading up to debut is a busy one. Major edits that required full immersion. Marketing strategies. Attending events as I wanted to get to know fellow writers in my area, a busy one full of amazing talent. Suffice it to say my obsessive tendencies kicked in and I did all sorts of spinning-wheel type things. Spending hours identifying libraries I could pitch to or fill out their suggest-a-book forms. Researching and then contacting blogs for interviews, etc. Hours and hours spent fretting about reviews and galleys going to the right people and wah, wah, wah.
Hours I could have (note I did not say SHOULD have) been writing about Lucy.
And the reason I didn't say should is because I try not to should all over people or myself. I feel that we do the best we can in the moment, mostly, and in those moments leading up to debut, the best way for me to tackle the massive anxiety I had about the upcoming changes in my life was to Sweat the Small Stuff. Not create a new work of art. Not channel my energy in a positive way. Not rise above my lizard brain and it's imaginings. No, I poured myself 100% into the task of freaking out. For months.
And I wouldn't change a thing.
Mostly because for the first time in my life I was all I'M FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW AND I TOTALLY DON'T CARE. I don't usually give in to that. Usually I tuck in my shirts and eat proportionate meals and act like a completely normal person. Mostly. But there was something about the excitement and intoxication of realizing a dream and about a hundred other things I hadn't anticipated that just made me fall into a hundred pieces.
So now, I'm stuck with the repair (which interestingly, is a HUGE part of what Hum is all about). I have to lose some weight, get back to the gym and finish the second book in my contract (which, if my editor or agent is reading this, I have been working on madly since debut-I swear!!). But the weirdest thing, that thing that makes me feel no time is ever wasted? Lucia Melania Samantha Rossi? She has poured herself 100% into the task of freaking out, too, and it brings her world crashing down around her. I'm not sure I would have seen that as clearly or written it as well back then.
I'm not sure what came first, the chicken or the egg. But I'll take both (after I lose this extra fifteen pounds, that is).