I am in that deliciously terrifying place right now called, “Between projects.” It’s generally a greasy mess of excitement about the possibilities, abject terror of starting something new, and wait mode.
As I’m working up the courage to dive into another big project, ideas are popping like microwave popcorn, but I’m not sure which one to tackle next. I’m also trying not to pace as I await responses to projects already in the works.
In between the waiting and dreaming and excitement, I’m also fighting the ever-present doubt gremlins who ask, “Really, you think you can write another book? Do you remember how much work that was? And what if it isn’t any good?” Just the other day someone said, “Angel Falls was absolutely wonderful. It’s going to be really hard for you to top that.” Gulp. Double gulp.
I snapped a picture of this actual street sign a few weeks ago, and had to share it here because it fits so perfectly. We all have dreams to follow! If you happen to be where I am now, standing on the precipice looking down into the vastness of “what’s next” on the way to your dreams, here is what I’m reminding myself.
–If I break the project or idea into manageable chunks, it isn’t quite so overwhelming. Even a measly 100 words a day will quickly add up. Two hundred words a day = a novel in a year.
–Creativity doesn’t just strike once, or rarely, like lightening. If we show up to do the work every day, our muse will find us there. (That’s how Steven King put it in his writing book. You can get a copy of On Writing here if you haven’t already.)
–Remember that it’s ok to write really, really lousy first drafts. Really and truly. Just ask Anne Lamott. I reread her wonderful writing book, Bird by Bird, every other January as a refresher course.
–Whenever we try to create, there is resistance. How do we fight it? We create anyway. Steven Pressfield calls it, The War of Art and offers practical suggestions to fight it.
–Give yourself time to dream big, journal, make lists, scribble, pray, and simply…think. Take time to refill the creative well. Get out of your cave and interact with friends. I love a book called, The Creative Call, by Janet Elsheimer. After a while, you’ll have your answer and will be ready to dive in.
–Start. Somewhere. Anywhere. Take one teeny tiny step today. And then do it again tomorrow. And the next day…
I’m off to do some more journaling and thinking and scribbling.
How about you? What strategies do you use when you’re between projects? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
I was thrilled to learn that Clark Matthews of KNEO radio talked about Angel Falls (and several other Abingdon titles) on his Author Talk program recently. Here’s the KNEO radio link, if you’d like to take a listen.
(By the way, the above book links are affiliate links, but I only include books/products I believe in.)
Have a great weekend and happy dreaming, everyone!