Lull - noun; plural noun: lulls
1. a temporary interval of quiet or lack of activity.
That’s me: In a lull. A writer’s lull. My first book’s “book-iversary” was April 8th. I intended to create a little birthday graphic, post it on Facebook and celebrate, but I forgot. I forgot! On the 10th I remembered and thought I’d post something then, but of course it was too late, especially by Internet standards. Two days might as well be two years on the Internet, which, in fact, it has been since my pub date. I’m backlist, old news. You can already get the book used from as low as $1.29 on Amazon.
So, what have I been doing for the last two years? This blog--about living a writer’s life (she said ironically). I have a personal blog, too, a humorous look at aging which I post to every other week . . . or so. I’ve continued attendance in my writing group and we’ve even added a third member. The other two are hip-deep in their WIPs--memoirs both--and without an actual WIP myself, my contribution is usually critiques of their work. I have some projects on the shelf, but my work on them has been, well, in that lull.
I didn’t have any idea what my writer’s life would look like once I published my first book, but I can tell you what I imagined it to be: Suddenly, my life would be transformed and I would be on the go--this meeting, that interview, a speaking engagement or twenty. I’d have a new, air-thin laptop and a great Coach leather bag to carry it around in. My house would be transformed, too. The spare bedroom I use as a home office would be decorated in a Santa Fe/Shabby chic décor and, even more desirable, it would be clean. And writing, writing, writing. All day long. None of this actually happened, but it was fun to fantasize. The reality is that after about six months of readings, signings and other local author events my life went back to business as usual. Back to the day job, back to squeezing in writing after the day job and back to thinking about my next project.
But that’s not quite accurate. My life did go back to “normal,” it looked much the same as before. But now, normal felt a little different. Even without the fame (the imagined one), I crossed a threshold of sorts. I looked through a slightly different lens. Before my book was published, I worked on it like a crazy person. The pressure and anxiety to get it “done” was intense and I fed on it. It was exciting and terrifying; I drove myself to edit, chop, rewrite. These days, there is less pressure although I still feel an invisible hand at my back to “produce.” I suspect that’s as much from my upbringing as anything else. I know I need to get my next book on the shelves--who am I? Anna Quindlen? Even she is out on tour with her latest book after only a couple of years since her last one.
I think my next book will be a more considered manuscript because now I know what I need to do before I let it go. Like spend more time with the words, the layout, the editing. And then, after that book, I’ll know more how to do the next one. As I look back at this lull, I think it might have been a necessary interlude, an opportunity to integrate the exhilaration I felt as a published author into a committed, different, work practice. And in turn, pour that insight into writing a better book.
And funny. It will still be funny.