Over the next few weeks I’ll be reposting some of the guest spots I wrote during last summer’s Blogbuster Tour. Here’s the first one, from I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read.
Next month my upcoming novel will be published, The Shadow Wolves. It’s my fourth book, though not the fourth I’ve written. Four books released in less than a year, a quartet on which I’ve worked every day for the past fifteen months. During that time I’ve lost fifteen pounds, compromised my immune system, have been plagued by bouts of stress-induced insomnia, and recently found gray whiskers in my beard. (Not a single silver hair either, a noticeable patch.)
No doubt all this stems from the tremendous pile of work I’ve pounded out in that short time. I’ve written or edited about 380,000 words since I started last spring (and proofed that amount four times over). There are days I feel as though my brain will turn into hot porridge and dribble out my ears. And despite feeling — mentally, at least — like an obese man slogging through the last half mile of a marathon, I can’t allow that to affect my work. It’s my responsibility as a writer to ensure that the fourth book is just as well written, taut and free of errors as the first. I would not recommend undertaking a similar feat to anyone else, and I certainly won’t do it again. Four books in one year has cleared my backlist. I have other manuscripts collecting dust on the bookshelf, but none I’d feel comfortable sharing with the public.
Have you ever exercised so rigorously or worked at some labor-intensive task to the point you can barely think straight? You’ve stressed your body so much that it affects your mind. And the reverse is just as true. I know certain writers who gain twenty pounds while writing the rough draft of a new novel; equally, there are authors who lose that much weight. (Some people snack absentmindedly as they type, and others get so wrapped up in the storytelling they forget simple things like bathing or eating.) It’s obvious to me now that my mind and body are connected in a symbiotic relationship.
It’s important for writers to recharge their mental batteries and allow their creative wellspring to refill. After the Blogbuster Tour concludes at the end of August, I’ll take a month-long break. I look forward to September, when I’ll have time to go on walks every evening and will finally sit down to watch all those shows that I’ve recorded on the TiVo then ignored. But I won’t be entirely unchained from work, as in the back of my mind ideas already percolate for other projects.
Because come October, I start the next book.
UPDATE: That book I began last October was Blackstone, my haunted prison novel, which is now on sale.