the next novel

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.