I am sitting on my sofa doing nothing. For the first time in what feels like years, I find myself with an hour in front of me that is not appointed to the care of children, housework, shopping, emailing, cooking, promoting my book, or the myriad other activities that make up the daily life of this mom, wife, friend and writer. Ten minutes ago, my husband took the kids on a bike ride and instructed me to enjoy some time to myself. I waved goodbye, went into the house, and, instead of rushing headlong into my next task as per my usual routine, I found myself just standing there not knowing which direction to go. I sat down and promptly got the hiccups. My mind raced. Should I read a book? No, the one I started a few days ago just hasn’t grabbed me. Call a friend? I’m all caught up with everyone. Update my website? Did it last week. Check my email? I just hit refresh for the third time, and obviously no one is urgently trying to reach me. And with that, the inevitability of a singular fact fills my head and causes my stomach to flop over in dread: It is time to get back to writing. Ugh.
Of course I love writing. It is my creative outlet, a main source of my fulfillment and purpose, and now I’m even lucky enough to call it my vocation. It’s been five months since North of Normal was released. I’ve had the publicity flurry, the meaningful exchanges with readers, the book club barrage, the literary festival invitations, and the thrill of seeing my book on the bestseller list for nine weeks. In short, many of the dreams I had about my first book have come true, and I’m incredibly grateful. But the party is drawing to a close, and I know it’s time to get back to work. Though I’ve begun my second book, I haven’t worked on it in nearly a year, and fear abounds. I’m afraid that I’ll reread what I’ve written and hate it; that my writing talent has deserted me; that my second book won’t live up to the first; that I won’t be able to sell another manuscript. So rather than face the music I just sit here, hiccupping away as I complete the last task I can justify before opening the dreaded Book #2 file on my laptop: writing a long-overdue blog entry. So here it is. To all the wonderful friends and family who have championed my book over the past months, to the many awesome new friends I’ve met through book clubs, social media, parties and appearances on behalf of my book, thank you to the ends of the earth for your support and encouragement. I will write a second book. It will be just as good as my first. And I’m going to get on it right this minute.
Just as soon as I get these darned hiccups under control, that is. And maybe by then the kids will be home, with their strangling hugs and boisterous yelling and requests for snacks and boo-booed knees to attend to.
Here’s hoping… 😉