I have a handful of positive reviews from advanced copies of The Goodbyes. Each one has made me cry with gratitude.
Before, I was afraid that people wouldn't like my book, but I never thought about what would happen if they liked it, or what that might mean for my next book.
Tandem is my first completed manuscript. I needed a nudge to keep writing, so I enlisted my best friend Camille to help. We've been working on it for seven years. We know the characters better than ourselves.
Four agents requested the full manuscript. They all politely declined. Defeated and depressed, I took a break from the sixth re-write to focus on The Goodbyes. But, I still believe in this book and I feel like I know enough about writing to finish it now.
Expectation Paralysis is freezing my fingers into a still hover over my keyboard. Tandem is a different genre, conceived during a different time in my life. I love this story so much, but what if readers want The Goodbyes 2?
As a reader, I get it. I've picked up a book by an author, fell in love with it, and immediately bought everything they'd ever written. I've also been disappointed when an author's next book wasn't anything like the book I fell in love with.
As a writer, that stuff starts getting in your head.
Art and Expectations
I remember watching That Moment, the documentary about making the film Magnolia. There's a scene where Fiona Apple pretends to be the film and Paul Thomas Anderson acts out his insecurities. "You're embarrassing all of us," he yells. At the end of the scene, he says, "You're no Boogie Nights."
That's pretty much how I feel today. Then again, Magnolia is a masterpiece. I shouldn't be so hard on myself.
Instead of yelling at this manuscript, I'm trying to let it find the life it wants to live. Well, technically I'm procrastinating by writing a blog post, but I'm going to open that document any second now. Right after I make a cup of coffee. And put more water in the aquarium. And maybe start some laundry.
Pushing the Mystery Button in the Wonkavator
To keep the fear from stopping my progress, I'm remembering what Mr. Wonka said after Charlie inherited the chocolate factory.
Mr. Wonka: "Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted."