I made a four-year chart this morning—blocking off periods of time for drafts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, and then, boldly, sketching in: publish!
I’ve been anxious ever since.
I could well be turning 68 when The Next Novel sees the light of day. Will there be another novel after that? Will I continue to publish into my 70s? It’s hard work—reallyhard! both in the creation and the publication—and, for the first time, I begin to see that I’m not on a path that extends into infinity.
I had an idea, once, that I would write shorter pieces as a grew older: novellas, short stories, poetry. There is wisdom in this. Perhaps The Next Novel should be titled The Last Novel … or, at least, The Last Long Novel, for it seems, yet again, a huge subject to come to terms with, an insurmountable, impossible task.
But that feeling, I know, is Stage One. It’s a mistake, I think, for a writer to look too far into the future. I know that once I begin, once I’m “on the page,” all those anxious thoughts slip away and simple curiosity (and a good measure of delight) will take over.
Lilian, wise words. And thank you, Rachel, for the support! These “reality” moments are like blips in an otherwise “keep on trucking” (and loving it) sort of life.
If anything, remember to write what feels natural. Once this novel is finished, if you don’t feel you have it in you to write another long one, don’t.
Stephen King has retired numerous times only to get pulled back in. Writing is consuming and will always surprise you with its moods.
Whatever the case, I know I will read whatever you publish!
Sandra, I’ve met you and more recently watched you read on you-tube and I would have sworn you are at least 10 years younger. That being said, I think it’s part of life realizing that it is finite, whether it takes the form of anticipating how many books and what kind of books or some other way of putting it. I’ve also thought about writing something shorter as I get older, but I think it might be better to learn how to think of myself and my life differently. Instead of adding it all up and projecting it ahead, being comfortable with now.