Many Books Make Much Work?
People often ask how I get so many book ideas, but Lisa S had a slightly different question.
(Note: this is a revision of a post made January 8, 2015)
She sent me this question in July:
Have enjoyed your books, but notice you seem to start and promote many books at a time. Is your mind constantly creating characters and ideas or is this something necessary for your publishers?
Be sure to rest mind and body!
This is an excellent question, and not because I happen to be guilty as charged. I’ve discovered a great diversity among authors in regard to the number of books worked on at a time. Some authors are quite dedicated to one project before moving onto the next. They get their ideas, they plot out the book, plan every detail (or they totally just grab the character and go for a ride, surprised as anyone at the end of the journey) and when the book is finished, only then do they consider other book ideas.
That’s not me.
This question goes hand in hand with “what do you do about writer’s block?” I don’t get writer’s block. In fact, I have the opposite problem. I get ideas daily. Almost all of them get written down in a file. Those that I think will be a full book end up getting the first chapter written. Others just get revisited from time to time until that character or event makes it into another book. I don’t worry about not having anything to write about.
I’d be two hundred before I got there unless my ideas dried up tomorrow. Then I MIGHT make it. Maybe.
Of course, Ashley loves that I keep coming up with new ideas. It means that I’m enthused and excited about writing. Because you see, I have what I call “literary ADD.” This I define as “the inability to concentrate on the same project for extended periods of time.” In other words, my ideas have to percolate. Add to that the serial novels and blogging in addition to my regular writing projects, and I have to have variety. It is kind of a built-in fail-safe.
The process usually goes like this.
I conceive a new book. I write a few paragraphs or a chapter about it. Then it gets filed. I’m working on Novel 1 when I realize that I’ve avoided it today. That is usually a sign that my brain needs to rest from it.
So, I pull out Novel 2. That’s usually the serial novel. But maybe I burned myself out on it yesterday and still need a break. That’s when I go scrolling through other book ideas and grab one. I get excited. Start writing. I ignore the fact that I haven’t eaten yet today and write some more–then some more.
By the next day, I’m usually ready to go back to Novels 1 or 2. BUT… that leaves Novel 3 just sitting there lost. So, I let myself play with it now and then. That way, by the time I’m done with Novel 1, I’m still in tune with Novel 3. Meanwhile, Novel 2 chugs along at its usual pace.
Now and then, a deadline interrupts one of these, but for the most part, this is how it works and it works well for me.
Sometimes I’ll wake up with an exciting idea for a book I haven’t really started or have left off for quite a while. I write it. I’ve learned that even if it delays other things, even if it means adding one more idea to the many books waiting for their turn on my “drawing board,” using my excitement and maximizing it means that I have a better book in the end.
And isn’t that what this is all about?
So the short answer is, yes. My mind is always creating new ideas and plot lines, and that results in many, many books waiting for me to finish their stories. My publicist and now my publishers do want me to keep going and stick with publication deadlines.
But I assure you, I definitely rest my mind and body. I get LOTS of sleep each day (need it to function) and one way I rest my mind is to let it wander to a new project. Win/Win for everyone!
Thank you, Lisa, for asking the question. Check your email (spam folder if necessary) for a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card.
And remember, if you have a question for the Author Q&A, zip me an EMAIL. If yours is featured, I’ll send you a gift card too!