According to my local paper—expert on all things—we’re now officially in the Summer Doldrums. There was a whole article yesterday about how everyone took their vacation last week, for the Fourth, which means that this week is all about getting back to the office, and re-entry to a post-vacation life, blah blah blah. It’s a good thing we have the media to inform us about these things: I thought it was just another week! But I can kind of understand. Independence Day is over, we’re settling into hot-and-humid-every-day kind of weather. The deer have eaten most of my plants that aren’t fenced in, and the heat has burned up a lot of the rest. Most of my friends are out of town. All I want to do is eat pre-cut watermelon and pineapple cubes from Whole Foods and read. It’s like the entire world has downshifted and is now moving more slowly, lazing through the days at a leisurely pace. Maybe it IS the doldrums, but personally, I kind of like it. But then I like any excuse to be lazy.
Speaking of laziness, or not, I got a comment yesterday asking what I’m working on now, and when I’ll have another book out. Well…the truth is, I don’t know. I am working on a draft, but to be honest that’s all I’m going to say about it. In fact, that’s more than I usually do. I’ve always been incredibly private about my writing, and what I’m working on. My own husband doesn’t know what my books are about as I’m writing them, doesn’t even read them until they’re in galley form, already copyedited and pretty much done. I think this is a reaction to being in writing workshops in college: I wrote my first book in a writing seminar, and found that for me, having input throughout the process just was not very helpful. What can I say, I’m a control freak. I like for my books to be all mine, like this big great secret, until I’m ready to start telling people. Stephen King has a great quote in his book On Writing (which I highly recommend), which says something about how you write with the door closed, and edit with the door open, and he’s right. There’s a big difference between putting a story down on paper when it’s just you and the page, and then working in what everyone else thinks about that story later. For me, the entire draft is a closed door. But when I do open it, I’m ready.
I’m also not the fastest writer in the world, and I usually have some false starts. And also, Just Listen JUST came out, which to me means no one’s expecting anything from me Right This Second anyway. I wish I was one of those authors who can just write two or three books a year, confidently and consistently, but I’m just not. I fret, I worry. I agonize. I go in circles, I throw out books that don’t work—you should see all the ones in my closet, or maybe you shouldn’t—as I work, in my own weird little way, all the way to the end of a draft. It’s not pretty. Or easy. But it is how I do it, and it’s served me pretty well so far, even if it isn’t a perfect process. I want to be absolutely sure that every book I publish is the best work I can do at that moment, and if that means only having a book out every other year, than that’s okay with me. But I will make you a promise: whenever I do have another book officially in the works—i.e. it’s passed muster with my Owen-Armstrong-level-honest agent, who is my first reader, every single time—I will bust open that door and let you know here first.
Until then, it’s just this little journal, and TV and Pop Culture and stupid dog stories. Which is not so much a door open or closed kind of thing, but more like, well…a dog door. Come and go as you like, I’ll do the same. No pressure. Okay?