March 2007. It was the best of times, it was...okay, it was simply the best of times. STORY OF A GIRL (my first published novel, but the fourth novel I'd written) had just come out that January. The publication of that book was the fruition of at least ten years of dreaming, working, rejection, near successes, periods of giving up, the high of finding an agent, the low of parting ways with her, writing writing writing and waiting waiting waiting. When would it be MY TURN? Eventually it all lined up: right agent, right book, right editor, right time.
What was I thinking about and feeling in terms of my life as a writer back then, when things were just taking off? I bet getting great critical and reader response to STORY gave me all kinds of confidence as I wrote my second book for Little, Brown. I bet I exhaled a little and said to myself, See, you can write, just keep doing what you know how to do and you'll be okay. I bet I was totally sane. Um, let's go to the archives...
From email to writer friend during 07 while in the midst of revising SWEETHEARTS:
It's weird - it's TOTALLY psychological. Something very different about the process from all the other times I've written books. There was one week I cried every day, seriously, and was ready to call of my whole career.
SWEETHEARTS is the never-ending book. It may kill me yet.
Oh, well. I'm sure I was enjoying the good buzz and reviews around STORY and feeling proud of my work, thus making the whole Second Book Psychosis thing easier to deal with. Let's see...oh, here's a nice email from my mom, asking me how I keep myself from "lifting off like a rocket" when I hear good things about myself. I probably replied with something like, "I don't know! It's awesome!" Or maybe it was...
How do I keep from lifting off like a rocket? Because I'm never satisfied with the quality of my work. I always want to do better and work harder. That isn't to say I don't enjoy the recognition, but it's all in balance. I mean, if you lift off like a rocket at the good stuff, that means you crash like one at anything negative. Good thing I had all that therapy before I got published.
Doesn't sound like being published magically cured me of anything other than the fear that I would never get a single book published.