It's been great lately seeing my friends having their book releases. June Kramin's Dustin Time, a sci-fi romance, just came out last week (I already finished it -- it's a quick and fun read!) Kelly Meding's second of her Evy Stone series, As Lie The Dead, is being released. Adam Slade's A Reaper's Tale: The Undecided has been out for a few months now. And Stacey Espino's steamy Damaged Cowboys is released today!
That reminds me of the joy and pride I felt when my first novel The Pacific Between was released in 2006. It certainly was a wild ride, and even though the novel only enjoyed a limited success (as far as reviews and sales are concerned: it earned out, thank you very much), there's no denying that a book release, especially your first, will always be like losing your virginity -- even if the experience was awful, it'll always be special (for the record, mine was wonderful).
It also reminds me that I'd better get my act together. My friends are busy writing and publishing their books! Not one, not two, sometimes three or four in a row, and here I am, still working on my second. The "sophomore curse" is real and I'm feeling it. One of the problems is that I took on more than I could chew -- the scope and subject of my WIP are so different and more expansive than The Pacific Between it is as if I just went straight to grad school after graduating from high school, skipping college altogether.
In a way, though, I'm glad. It got me out of my comfort zone and I've grown so much as a writer in the past few years. Sure, I don't have a book published every year, and I've been really slow, but I have to remember: no one cares how fast and how often you write; all they care is the quality of your work. I have to remind myself to not be envious of other writers' success or processes, but to focus on my own.
Also, the most important thing: Am I still having fun?
The answer is a resounding "yes." I feel that my process is exactly what I need. If I were to push myself writing one or two novels a year, I'd probably lose interest very quickly. If I were to sit on my hands and not do anything for 10 years, I would have lost the momentum. Right now, it's just about right. I'm on the verge of finishing the first draft of the WIP. In the meantime, I've written at least five or six short stories and I continue to write my weekly column for Actors Ink. So the pace fits me well. I'm still enjoying the process. I'm still having fun. And I can't wait to get on with my other story ideas!
So yes, my friends are kicking my ass. Their word counts are intimidating. Their processes could be enviable. But I like that. The ass-kicking is motivating me to do better. And that can only be a good thing.
Bravo, my friends! And watch out. I'm catching up.