Soo, I'm faced with having to adapt.
See, this thing happened. Ten years ago--well, closer to twelve now, really--I decided I was going to get serious about this writing thing. And I put a big push on. I'm been faffing about with writing since grammar school, started several novels, written a bunch of bad fiction and lousy poetry. You know, the usual. Embarrassingly earnest Poem published in the high school yearbook. Literary Arts Magazine. Some poetry in Hobo Jungle. (Three of you just winced in sympathy.)
But I decided I was Doing It This Time. Sending stuff out, trying to play in the big leagues.
And I did for about three years.
And then life got in the way, and there was a real job, and I kind of sucked at finishing things, and then there was a move and a marriage that didn't turn out so great and a job that just about killed me and giant breed dog rescue and the odd betrayal (mine and theirs) and a catastrophic depression and I had given up writing. Period. I wasn't good enough, you see, and I never would be. And there was this horrible job that was essentially the only thing keeping our heads above water, and no time and no energy.
Yeah, I quit. I really quit, too. I didn't write a word of fiction for years.
And then I had a mid-life crisis hit twenty years early, and I lost the horrible job, and I started writing again to cope.
You know, it really all came spilling out. I say I quit writing for three years, but really it was closer to five. And there was a logjam in my head, and when it broke I couldn't stop. I mean, literally.
The voices in my head were bothering people who leaned in close.
Anyway, many years of compulsive writing got me to the point where I am now. Which is to say, in pretty good shape, for one of the new kids, and with a lot of backlog that's enabled the mad publishing schedule of the last two years.
But here's the other thing. I can't write that fast anymore. All that stuff fell out of my head in torrents because it had been stewing back there for ages (some of it since high school--the first inklings of the thing that eventuall became Blood & Iron date from when I was fourteen, maybe? I remember where I was sitting when I thought up Elaine, and we moved out of that house when I was a sophmore in high school.) and now it's work to grow stories. They don't just happen anymore.
Some of that is because I'm working (I hope) at greater thematic depth, and the layering takes more time. Some of it is because trying to make it look easy is hard. Some of it is because I know more, and therefore, it takes more time to get it right. Or as right as you can ever get it.
And some of it is because I do not want to be that guy who writes the same book over and over again. Because really, what good is that to anyone?
It's interesting to wake up and discover you've stopped being superhuman.
Apparently, I need breaks between massively ambitious* novels now.
I'm going to try not to take it too hard.... and hope, once this current batch of contracts is complete (most of these books are written, at least in draft, so I'm not too worried about my deadlines) that I can juggle things in such a way as to keep all my editors happy without becoming a complete lame-ass hack.
*I dunno if they're successful, mind you, and I'm not qualified to judge. But so far, nearly everything I have written has pushed my auctorial limits in some way, and usually pushed them hard. So I'm happy with ambitious to describe working at the limits of my ability. Even if the limits of my ability are not, you know, heartbreaking work of staggering genius, I'm doing the best I can.