Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Aftermath of My Book's Publication

Photo Courtesy of Jim Linwood
Today is a kinda special: Strange Chemistry released my debut novel ESSENCE exactly one month ago today.

Wow, one month. In that time, I have attended my very first book signing, I have participated in approximately one million blog tour posts, I have tweeted, and I have sold books out of the trunk of my car. I have worked at my day job all day, and I have stayed up until midnight working on book stuff many nights in a row. I have turned down dinner plans and dates and beach days... I have transformed into a little literary hurricane.

And now that the dust is settling... I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to do next.

ESSENCE is out in the world. It still requires attention, of course, but at this point... It kind of is what it is. People can buy it if they want to, they can like or hate it if they want to, they can tell their friends to read it if they want to... The focus of ESSENCE's attention is now beginning to shift away from me, because that baby is born, and it's out in the world.

Bucket List = Complete.

I should feel ecstatic about this--and I am, of course--but my prevailing emotion isn't elation like I expected. Instead, I feel strangely... empty... like a mother bird whose children have just left the nest.

I poured my heart and soul and guts into ESSENCE for the past two and a half years of my life. On some levels, ESSENCE has become me, so now that it's gone... Well, now I have this itchy, twitchy, incomplete feeling, like I'm not sure who I am without it.

(Well, that's not true. I am more in touch with myself now than I probably ever have been. But now that I actually have time on my hands... I just don't know what to do with myself.)

My writer friends recommend working on a new project, but the problem is... I don't exactly have one. I have been working on ESSENCE's sequel for the past year or so, but in the aftermath of the Strange Chemistry shutdown, ESSENCE's sequel no longer has a home.

I have options, of course. Self-publishing the sequel, other (cryptic) options... The problem is, my sequel isn't exactly finished, so I have to ask myself if I should forge ahead with it or turn my attention to my next project. (And I do have a next project in mind. I outlined the whole thing in just a few hours last month, and it's simmering at the edges of my subconscious, just waiting for its chance to see the light of day.)

But... I don't know. Something about writing anything just feels like work right now, so I wonder if what I actually need is a little break to find my center again.

Problem is... I am apparently no good at sitting still. I haven't had time to do it for years, and frankly, the proposition of it scares the hell out of me.

I didn't think I was one of those people who craved chaos, but now I'm beginning to worry that maybe I am. In the past month, I have joined a soccer team, and I have gone paddleboarding more times than is reasonably necessary. I have read three books, I have checked my email obsessively, and I have joined nearly every social gathering I could find. My dog is getting tired of her daily walks and sessions at the dog park, and frankly, I think someone needs to take my phone away to stop me from checking to SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING!!! every five minutes.

I am a bundle of nervous energy, and I'm not sure how I am supposed to calm myself down. So my question for all of you is... HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU NOT GO INSANE IN THE AFTERMATH OF YOUR BOOK'S PUBLICATION??

I feel like a need to be tranquilized right now...

(Only kinda kidding. ;))