Updates from Frederick Smith, former Detroiter living in Los Angeles, and author of Down For Whatever (July2005) and Right Side of the Wrong Bed (December 2007).
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Not Writing. But Not Procrastinating Either.
So I know many of you aspire to be published novelists or short story writers. And sometimes you think those of us who have been published are ALWAYS creatively stimulated, ALWAYS banging the keyboard, ALWAYS putting out material.
When I wrote Down For Whatever, I wrote for fun. And never had any idea if or when I'd ever get it published.
Once sold, and while waiting for Down For Whatever to be published, I wrote a second novel. It's in the publication pipeline now. My hope is/was for a Summer 2006 release date. It'll probably be more like Fall 2006/Winter 2007. But this novel, which my agent and those involved in helping me revise say is much stronger than Down For Whatever, just came to me and I wrote the first draft in record time. I know this happened for a number of reasons.
1- The vascillating schizophrenia between boredom/hyperactivity while waiting for your first book to come out. 2- The story and characters spoke to me (I know it sounds kinda crazy, but I don't need pills or a 51-50 or 72-Hour Hold) and each morning they guided my writing direction. 3- I didn't want the 2nd book blues.
Now, as I near the end of major publicity for Down For Whatever (but I still want y'all to buy and word of mouth it to your friends and loved ones), and I'm beginning work on my third novel, I have a confession.
I'm writing. But not writing. (For those of you who identify, check out the Not Writing site. It's funny/sarcastic and just what the doctor ordered!)
I've started a number of drafts. But nothing sticks. Nothing takes root. I know why. Once words like market, audience, publicity, expansion, units sold, units returned, demographics, literary, commercial, chick lit, boy lit, editorial teams, etc... become part of your writer vocabulary, they also invade your thoughts. Those thoughts affect your creativity. And those thoughts are causing me to not write. I'm not producing as I would like.
It's not writer's block. Because I can write anything, much like I'm writing this blog right now. I still get up at 5 am, and am even getting in front of the keyboard in the evenings. But nothing's taking root for me now. What I'm enjoying most right now is helping others find their creative muse. I have a few folks who I'm working with by providing creative writing exercises and feedback, and I'm loving what they're producing. In a way, it's stimulating my ideas. Now I just need results.
Nothing beats the first novel writing process, when it's just you, your creativity, and a sheer joy of writing. If you're writing your first piece, enjoy it for all it's worth. It's usually the most genuine and most fun of your writing career. fs