During my book tour, people asked, “What’s your next project?” I was honest, bouncing around some ideas I had and my conflicted feelings about committing to a larger work before I was ready.
Now that the tour has ended, I’ve painted a few paintings and written a few poems but again I wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself, “What’s your next project?”
I’ve thought about the thriller I need to rewrite, the one that was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the one in which I didn’t know how to proceed but now have the knowledge to continue. I’ve also thought about the romance I need to edit, the one that every editor and agent said was a solid idea, poorly executed. Could I work on that?
And then there is the exhaustion that comes after one projected has ended. How much time do you allow yourself before apathy creeps in and takes hold? Is one week enough? One month? Or do I need more time to recover?
I don’t have any answers to any of these questions, only more questions upon questions. That’s why I wake up every night and wonder how I will begin. That’s why I try to go back to sleep, to dream and rest and find that sense of sanity I lost when I was writing, promoting, and traveling.
And that’s how stories always begin. When I am not looking for that next project, the project seems to find me. It starts as one word, then another, until I have another manuscript unfolding in my hands. That’s when I’ll look up and say, “I know what my next project is.”