What happens when you're done writing the novel and you've edited it for the hundredth time and you've sent out queries? You start the next novel. John Grisham didn't become famous for his first novel, A Time to Kill. He got famous for his second book, The Firm. The thing is, John Grisham didn't stop writing. Even if A Time to Kill flopped, he kept on writing. He kept going, and if he didn't, then The Firm wouldn’t have happened. Another example of this is Dan Brown. The Da Vinci Code isn't his debut novel. It's actually his what, fourth? Angels and Demons came before it and a couple more books before that.
If writing is really want you want to do for a living, you can't bank on just one novel. I'm sure you have more in you than just one novel, right? Right? Okay, Harper Lee only has two novels (that we know of), but we can’t all write the great American novel, now can we? Even Nobel Prize winners have more than just the novel they won for.
Writing is a process that keeps evolving. Lisa Kleypas, Nora Roberts, and many of the romance novelists like them, come out with at least one novel a year. Or you can be as prolific as Tom Clancy and come out with two or even James Patterson who can come out with three. Okay, the latter is unsubstantiated, but with all the new James Patterson books I see on shelves, it does look like he can dish them out by the dozen, right?
What do they all have in common? They keep writing. The moment they finish a novel, they start another. Sometimes, they work on multiple novels at the same time. It's all about getting as much done as possible. We all have more than just one novel. In fact, we have multiple. I'm sure you have characters in your head that you weren't able to add to your first novel, so why not give them their own story? Basically, it's write, write, and write some more.
But, what about a break from writing, you might ask? Well, breaks are always good, except you don't want to lose your momentum. Like anything that needs practice, if you don't get cracking for a while, you'll get rusty. What about what you’ve learned from writing your first novel? That can all slip by the wayside if you stop writing. You don't need to get into the grind. Take it a page at a time if you have to. Of course, if inspiration hits, why take it slow? If you feel like writing a hundred pages in one go then more power to you.
What we really want to take away from this post is the fact that we must keep going. If writing is what we really want to do, then why stop with just one novel? What’s stopping us?
Keep on writing!
Keep on writing!