My hands felt gnarled, like cast up pieces of drift wood. My right middle back felt stitched up tight. My ass was numb, and my brain felt slurried, as if somebody had dipped a liquefier into my skull and buzzed it on low for a few minutes. But it was done.
Why did I write so much? I checked after I was done. I’d written almost 17,000 words. That’s about 68 pages in a regular print novel. I wrote it all today for a variety of reasons. I’m betting a lot on this trilogy. My current four novels aren’t selling much, despite my stellar reviews. I’m fighting as hard as I can to get everything lined up before Christmas, and still, despite all that, there’s no guarantee people will like these books. No guarantee it won’t be one grand flop. That I won’t sell a few hundred copies in December, a few hundred more in January… and then… just crickets.
No guarantees. So each morning when I sit down to write these novels it’s me facing oblivion, gambling that I can pull it off, that this time word of mouth will catch like bush fire and people will come streaming to Amazon to buy my work. This time, it’ll catch, and it’ll stick. Each morning I sit down with that belief, and each day I get back up filled with doubt.
So today I felt a sort of low level anger. Anger at myself for feeling that doubt. For feeling fear. For feeling my confidence slide. I sat down, looked at the screen, and realized that I can’t control almost any element of this business. I can’t control whether my readers like my work. Whether they’ll tell their friends. Whether somebody will write a review. Whether somebody else will read that review and choose to spend $3 on what took me so long to craft. I’ve got no control over anything except the writing itself. So I sat down today with that low level anger, and I thought, fuck. If I’ve only got control over the writing, then I’m damn well going to write.
And now Book 2 is finished. Last night I brainstormed Book 3. I think it’s going to work. I’m ahead of schedule. I’ve got all of September to write it at a leisurely pace of 2,400 words/day. I hope to send Book 1 out to friends in October, and submit all three novels to my editor in November. Get the corrected copies back, edit them, compile the book files, receive the artwork from the cover artist, and launch everything by December 15th or so.
Will it work? Will it sell? Will people like what I’m writing? I’ve got no clue. But despite my aching hands and aching back and an ass that’s still numb, I finished Book 2, and I think I wrote it right. And when all is said and done, that’s not only all I can control–it’s all I can ask for. That sense of guttered, hollowed out victory that comes from following your dreams and giving it your last bleeding all.