I’ve come to the realisation that I LOVE writing new books. As in, first-of-a-series new books. There’s no pressure with them, no expectations. If it sucks, it sucks, and no one has to read it. No one but me will be disappointed. But when it comes to continuing the books in an already published series, people are waiting and wondering what will come next. Just as I am also waiting and wondering where my characters will guide me next. It’s extremely daunting!
I say all this because I’ve just begun writing the third book in The Medoran Chronicles (ie. the Akarnae series) and it’s flipping terrifying wondering what’s going to happen since I’m unable to plot too far ahead—my characters simply won’t let me! But what’s more scary is the little voice in the back of my mind whispering, “What if you can’t write this?”
The funny thing is, that little voice comes every time I begin a new project. But as I said at the beginning of this post, it’s easier to ignore that voice when it’s a new-new project that no one is waiting on. With the Akarnae series, I know there are people who are eagerly anticipating the next books to be written and released. And, yeah, that’s hive-inducing! There are times when I just sit back and think, Omigosh, how did J.K. Rowling handle the pressure of writing the final Harry Potter book? I would LOVE to hear the answer to that!
Instead, I figure all I can do is keep doing what I’ve always done—and that’s write for me. To forget that people will actually be reading these books, to ignore what I think readers might want to see happen, and to let the story come as organically as possible as if it were just me enjoying it for myself.
But yeah, that’s still pretty scary. And I say that because book two is already written and I know what happens in it and where it’s leading for book three, and things are going to start getting even more challenging for my protagonist and her friends. So it’s like I’m freaking out for her. But at the same time, I can’t wait to write it and find out what happens! It’s totally a mind-bend. Multiple personality disorder to the max!
I saw this really great post on Facebook earlier today and I was like, “YES! THAT’S EXACTLY IT!” and I can’t seem to get the picture to save across here, so I’ll type it out, but basically I want to encourage any other writers who can relate to the same fears I mentioned above. The following is by Leslie Leyland Fields:
7 “Fear Nots” Of Every Writing Project
1. That you’re not qualified to write this material: You’ve chosen this material, or it has chosen you, for reasons deeper than anyone knows. Trust your choosing and chosenness.
2. That you have nothing new to contribute to the world: “If I thought I had to say it better than anyone else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said; by me.” – Madeleine L’Engle.
3. That whatever form you’re writing in feels too difficult: Fear is the perfect response before something this grand and complex. If it were easy, you wouldn’t grow as a writer.
4. That you don’t have enough time to write: If you are serious about this project, you will find a way to re-order your life. Cut out the dead space and carry on.
5. That you don’t know where your project is headed, even in the middle of it: Keep writing day by day, keep listening to your characters, and you’ll find out at the right time. The writing itself will get you there.
6. That you’re not a good enough writer to accomplish your goal: None of us is good enough to finish a project when we start. By the time we finish, though, we have become more than good enough.
7. That no one will read your work: Someone WILL read your work. Just get on with the world you are making and trust that your creation will find the people who need and cherish it the most.
BONUS: That when this project is done, you will exhaust all your words and ideas: You may be temporarily exhausted, but never fear! Your best writing keeps the muse coming back. And when she does, return to this list, pick yourself up—start a new page.
Well, there you have it. Let me leave you with one last piece of encouragement from the writing king himself, Stephen King. (Omigosh, I didn’t even intend for the pun! How funny!)