Writing By Your Own Watch

While I was walking down the cobblestone streets a stone’s throw from Rome’s famed Spanish steps a few weeks ago, I was thinking about my next novel and how long it’s been taking to come together.

In the publishing world, or really any industry where creative output is the order of the day, there’s a pretty high premium on producing consistently. And since my last novel released just shy of three years ago, I’ve been asked on several occasions by well-meaning writer friends and thoughtful people who’ve enjoyed my last books when the next one is hitting store shelves.

Now trust me, it’s a great problem to have—you know, people being interested in what you’re up to. But sometimes as a writer, it can also make you play the dreaded comparison game and ask questions like “Why don’t I have my third book out yet like so and so does?” Or you end up feeling guilty for not hurrying things along because in our here today, gone tomorrow A-D-D culture you worry that people will forget that you exist once you finally get around to having a new novel out.

Cue Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”…

But one day, in the midst of one of my internal freak-outs about when my next book would finally be ready for press, something so obvious but so encouraging occurred to me: Ultimately, we have to write by our own watch. After all, merely being prolific for prolific’s sake is quite overrated if the quality simply isn’t there—or if the story isn’t complete. And for everyone, the process looks a little different.

So all that to say, I’m forging forward with a new perspective. I’m writing by my own watch. Do I have a goal in mind of when I’d like to submit the proposal for my latest work? Absolutely. But instead of comparing myself with what so and so is up to, I’m focusing on making my manuscript the best it can be, however long that takes…

With that said, however, I’m really excited about the story I’m working on. I’ve sketched out the characters and the story is finally taking a shape that I like. It’s women’s fiction with a bit of a foodie twist…so stay tuned…

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