As we creep up on the end of Spring and anticipate the balmy warm weather, FB memories show me the lead-up to last year’s book release, the back and forth between the publisher and me. The many, many edits, the trickle of illustrations from the lovely Niloufer. The marketing plan that got refined with each pass through. It was heady, all of it.
The memories are beautiful and haunting. They also make me long for a repeat. The highs of getting a book ready for publication, the anticipation, the sheer terror, and then, the exhaustion.
As I walked around the development I live in, I chatted with my daughters, one at a time, walking many times over the same path. We covered school, specials, friends and, summer plans. On the last walk, before we turned to go home, we talked about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. As I explained it to her, something clicked into place for me.
The nameless feeling plaguing me was the absence of the adrenaline high that comes with working on a creative project. The characters that come to life in my head, the problems in my life that find expression in fictional characters, the thrill of tidily tying up knots. I miss all of that. It also hit me with a force that the way “Why is my Hair Curly?” happened was like winning a lottery. It means it is unlikely to happen again in my lifetime.
I dug out my first manuscript, the one I wrote in a month, the words pouring out of me, six years ago. A story that channeled all that I wanted to say about the things that were important to me then. The characters have lived in my head ever since.
The more I mull over it, I feel that urge, the need to free the story and the characters. I do not want to rework the story to add conflict. I do not want to pad the backstory to hit the word count for a novel. All I want to do is polish, edit, and be proud of what I put out there.
Wish me luck as I figure out how to do it at my own terms.