Clockwise from top left: released books, research for book 4, editing, research for book 3

Clockwise from top left: released books, research for book 4, research for book 3, editing

People ask me all the time “how’s the book going?” And I tend to sputter and flinch at the question.

My gut reaction is to ask “which ONE?!”

For most writers, there’s never just “the book.” For me right now, there’s the book I released in 2008, for which royalty statements exist; the book that came out this Tuesday, which I have just begun to promote alongside my publisher; the middle-grade novel I’m writing right now, which is in a second-drafty stage and not yet sold to any publisher; the book I’m actively researching to write next; the pair of books I’m planning to write with a friend, once I get the previous project a little more under way; and the thought of what kidlit projects I might envision for the future (three of those in the middle aren’t planned for kids and teens, unlike my first three books).

That adds up to at least seven books for four different audiences. Not one of them is more important to me than any of the others. At any one time, I might be enjoying research, struggling with a tough chapter, asking myself what I could do to get more “fans,” giggling with a friend on the phone about a hilarious non-fiction idea, editing a manuscript following notes from an editor, or planning a blog tour.

To correlate the perhaps-mysterious creative experience with the more widely reported-on world of personal finance, this is like the artist’s version of dollar-cost averaging– many eggs in many baskets, all things existing in a continuum, the fun balancing the tough, all things combining to (hopefully) contribute to a rich life.

And that’s why, if you ask me “how’s the book going?” from now on, I’m simply going to tell you, “awesome.” Because I guarantee you, at least one of them is.

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2 Responses to How to talk to writers: "The Book"

  1. I know how you feel about the multi-project perspective. And sputtering at the book status question ;) With that in mind, I’ve just nominated you for a Sunshine Award for inspiring bloggers! If you’d like to accept, please visit my blog for more details. Happy Friday!

  2. Jill says:

    Well, no one’s ever accused me of being “little miss sunshine” before, so I think I may just hav to accept the award, to mark this significant turning point! :-D

    More and more, I’ve been thinking about writing in terms of what it can add to my life, rather than what I have to do to make it add to my bottom line. I have to say, it’s making me MUCH happier.