For the first time, I'm actually at a place where I can participate in NaNoWriMo. I'm not in school right now, don't have many deadlines, and just finished editing a draft of book 2. My November is all free, spanning out in front of me, and after editing for so long, I've been itching to actually start WRITING again. I've missed the plain old freedom of starting a new draft and building up word count.
Writing book 3 feels different than the last one, I can already tell. I'm having more fun. I think with book 2, I felt this crazy pressure and doubts -- what if I couldn't write another book as good as the first? What if I couldn't write it in the time frame needed?? What if being under contract completely stifled my inner muse?!?!
Book 2 got written this summer, somehow. But with all the difficulty I had editing it, and the distance of a few months, I think it was partially written out of that place of fear. All those worries made me frantically produce a first draft, sure. But it wasn't as good. It was robotic at parts, where my narrator would just relay what was happening like she was reporting it. It's in first person, but still, it wasn't clear what her motivations were and why the reader should be propelled through the story. In short: why should the reader care about her? It lacked heart. And for good reason-- I didn't really know what was going on with her!!! I didn't know why she was doing things, I was just moving my characters around like a puppeteer dragging them through a show, getting from one plot point to another. This summer was also just very hard personally for me. I myself was muddled, so it only makes sense that, along with the other pressures I let myself be controlled by, it bled into my writing.
But I don't feel any of that dread or doubt about writing book 3. As hard as book 2 was, and as stilted as the product may have been at first, I did finish it. I'm not worried anymore my ability to write under contract anymore.
What I feel as I approach book 3 is a sense of freedom to explore the story and an anticipation for writing that I haven't felt for a good long while. For the past few weeks, scenes have been tumbling over themselves and playing out in my head--always the sign that I'm excited and passionate about a project. I have this spidy-sense that this is going to turn out to be a good book--it's the same sense I had when I was writing Glitch to start with. I'd faced rejection numbering into the hundreds for the other three novels I'd written and queried in the past, but this time it just felt different. I had this strange confidence that this was going to be the one. And it was!
As for book 2, I just finished a big edit round on it, so I have zero perspective right now. I suspect it's still stilted and muddled in parts, but that's the beauty of having an editor and team of readers behind you as an author. They'll point out where it's all wonky and I'll do re-writes and get it into shape. I feel confident about that too.
And in the meantime time, at least until I get the last big round of edits on book 1, I get to dabble in the fields of drafting delight. I'm so glad to be reminded again: I really love writing.