Now that I've embarked on the presumably lengthy journey to publication, I'm doing a lot of waiting. I loan out the MS to a beta reader and then I wait for feedback. I send the query to my editor cousin and wait for a thumbs up. I email tentative query notes to a few select agents and wait for the no's to roll in.
I know that the process is going to be long. But the waiting has go to go. After pouring myself into my novel for months straight, I can't just sit back and twiddle my thumbs. And frankly, I'm wary of writing the "next book" in the series until I sell the first. It seems like I'd jinx myself with that kind of hubris.
So, I have a different plan. I'm writing the book that isn't next. I'm filling pages with violence, back stabbing, and disgust. After I sit down to write a few pages like that, I feel better. Creatively fulfilled, emotionally relieved, and much more patient. Then I wait some more, but without the stress. The stress I leave behind in the book that's not next.