This is bound to be less dark. It might even be optimistic.
I realized the other day, in trying to do some self-examination (in the shower, of course; you should do it too) that, in trying to wring the most writing out of myself, I might be going about it all wrong. I still don't think that I can really know how I write best. I am sure that my strategy in that regard will change and evolve over the years, and I'm not about locking myself into some routine now. I like a good routine, but balk at limitations. If I want to write only on the weekends, or NEVER on the weekends, by God I'll do it.
Whatever works, but really, whatever keeps me sane.
I've been running with the idea lately that the two books I've written to completion and released into the world I wrote in their entirety, without having any distracting side projects along the way. My first book was a terrifying endeavor; I was so afraid that I wouldn't finish it that I pushed myself to write with a fervor I wish I could replicate now. Maybe I could somehow convince myself that if I don't finish another book I'll never write again, never really be a writer? Unfortunately, I think I'm too invested in this. I know myself too well.
Can one know one's self too well? Apparently.
I realized the other day, though, that I've been totally lying to myself (twist!). I definitely had side projects while I was working on both of those books. For fuck's sake, my second book was a side project I worked on between the first and second drafts of my first book. While I was writing that first book I also wrote a bunch of short stories (terrible things; they weren't even my darlings and I killed them). While I was working on my second book I wrote my third, a fantasy novel I've been tinkering with still. I've been trying to focus all my attention on one thing, which made me blind to the potential a piece of work done on the side can have. While I was making a second pass through that fantasy novel, I wrote a whole half of another novel (it may never be finished, because I don't know where to take it from there, but by Go those were words I wrote and I'm sticking to the hope that every word written makes me just a little better, or at least provides me a little more experience in the world of letters).
So side projects are in. The Tinkers will be glad to hear it (oh just wait). I bet the Vikings will even get a little excited, though I hope they don't let it run to their heads - they need a lot of work if they're gonna go out in public. I don't feel any great rush to publish again, and I like that - though that fire has been replaced with the insane heat of pressure of releasing not jut another book, but a good one. I want to give you, dear reader, a wonderful story to read. I want to captivate you, I want to provide for you an escape from this world, a home in another plane that you won't want to leave. I want to do for you what so many writers have done for me. Maybe there's some obligation driving me. Books have done more for me than most people I've known. Does that mean I need to give back?
I sure want to.