I should really be working on my manuscript that is completely unrelated to The Darkness of Light. I know I should. Especially considering I have no idea what will happen with TDOL as it makes its query rounds.
But the sequel is so much easier to write than the new one.
I already know my characters.
If you ask me “What would Malcolm do?” I totally know the answer to that! If I start on a new book, I’m going to have to struggle through getting to know my new characters. That’s always fun, but it’s stressful too.
I already know my setting.
With all the research I did for the first book, I better damn well know the setting! Sure, I still have to ensure my facts are right. I still have to look things up. I still have to scoot over to google earth from time to time. But I am comfortable with the era, the landscape, the wildlife.
It’s so easy to write about a place you feel like you already know. My other novel is set in Elizabethan England, and even though I’ve studied it thoroughly, bringing that world to life with accuracy is daunting.
I know where I’m going.
While I may not be 100% sure how I’m getting there, I know where my characters will end up. That didn’t happen with the first book. I had to write several drafts before I was settled on an outcome. It was a good learning experience, but it was nerve-wracking at times. If I start working on a completely separate book, I’ll be back in that space of uncertainty, sleepless nights, minor freak-outs.
So what does this tell me?
While it’s okay to work on The Darkness of Light sequel, I’m too comfortable in that world. I need to step back and give the new book a go. I need to challenge myself to keep my mind sharp, to keep learning, and to make sure I am constantly perfecting my writing skills.
Starting next week I’ll be setting aside my comfy slipper-like sequel for the painfully high-heeled walk with my new project.
When my students are frustrated or don’t understand the material, I tell them, “If you’re not struggling, you’re not learning anything.”
It’s time I take my own advice…