Almost as soon as I finished writing Project December: A Book About Writing, I knew I was going to follow it up with a sequel. I told myself a year was a reasonable interval between books and that since the first one had only taken six months to write, I had a little bit of time up my sleeve. I took some time off, wrote 30,000 words of a novel I’ve been trying to finish for the last four years (still not finished) and then started to gear up to yet again write about writing.
Of course, as with all the best laid plans, life was about to get in the way. I landed a six-week writing job, then another, did a semester of intensive tutoring for a university student and last but not least received – and accepted – an offer to extensively rewrite and edit an autobiography. Suddenly, it was November and I barely had half of Project January: A Sequel About Writing written. I hadn’t even had a chance to do my traditional Project October month of intensive writing.
When I sat down and thought about it, I decided there was no way I would be able to meet the publication date I had set for myself. So instead of aiming for an early 2017 release for Project January, I would move it back a year to early 2018. After all, nobody ever produced a great book by rushing to meet an arbitrary deadline. But, in the meantime, I would continue writing chapters here and there.
I wrote one chapter. One turned into two. Two chapters turned into ten. Ten turned into twenty-five. And so it continued. Before I knew it, in less than two months, the first draft was finished and it only took one month more for the text to be finalised. How, I asked myself, did that happen? How, when I was so sure it would never happen in that time frame?
It all came down to this: I psyched myself into writing a book.
Normally, we psych ourselves out of doing things but by simply removing the deadline that had been putting so much pressure on me and making me doubt myself, I removed the psychological barrier that was holding me back. And although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, there was still a little voice in the back of my mind urging me on. My conscious said it couldn’t be done so my subconscious was determined to prove me wrong. (It’s complex being me but that’s another story.)
One of the chapters in Project January (“How to write a book without even trying”) was inspired by the writing of Project December and some of the elements in that chapter were used again to complete this book. The equivalent chapter in the next one (assuming there is a next one – maybe in early 2018 – but why would I put a deadline on it when I now know that not having deadlines makes me write so much faster, despite that still yet-to-be-finished novel?) would have to be called, “How to psych yourself into writing a book.” Although I’m not sure exactly what all the steps are. I guess I’ve got a year (or more) to figure it out.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the second instalment.
Happy reading and happy writing!
Project January: A Sequel About Writing is available as a paperback from CreateSpace and Amazon US and as an ebook from Amazon US, Amazon Australia and Smashwords (and will shortly be available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and all good online book platforms).