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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pressure Cooker

P.A. Baines may have been born in South Africa and live in Holland, but I get where he's coming from. This post was cooking before his comment on yesterday's blog.

I don't like pressure. Never did. After my nervous breakdown, I like it even less, and in my utterly control freak way, I do everything in my power to avoid it.

Except getting published.

On the other hand, what most new authors don't understand is that first book rarely gets noticed. You're mostly writing to family and friends, and accidentally gather a fan or two. No problem. Not with the first book, anyway.

The pressure builds.

First, the expectation to write something else. For you younger, on fire writers, that's no problem. You're raring to go. (I've never written that before. Is that a colloquialism, or do normal people know what I mean?) The clock is ticking from the moment your book goes on sale. When's the next one coming out? What are you writing now? How much have you written? Gaargh!

Second, the expectation the next book will be at least as good as the first book. Should be better, really. I mean, you have all that practice under your belt. You've got it down.

Third, the expectation that you won't screw up the characters other people now love. Don't you dare kill so-and-so. Don't you dare ruin that happy ending I imagined. Don't you dare reveal that secret and spoil the magic.

If you manage to survive all these expectations and actually produce something that, by the grace of God, gets published and doesn't land you in the looney bin, you're expected to do it again. Only now the expectations are higher, because you met the last ones. It's like that Mario Bros. game where the cavern ceiling collapses on you for eternity.

There's no way out of this trap, except death. That's why Robert Jordan died, you know. Too much pressure. Watch out, Brandon Sanderson. You're next.

Happy Wednesday, anyway. The sun is shining, and that is always good.

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