My most recent book, Tranquility by Tuesday, came out in October. It often takes 18+ months for a book to go from contract to publication. So even if I was working on another non-fiction book right now, that would put me at 2 years or more between books.
As noted yesterday, I am working on a novel. But I write both fiction and non-fiction, and non-fiction is more my main business. And in that category, I’m not working on anything now! Instead, I have put “think about book ideas” as an entry on many recent weekly priority lists.
Yes, I know that sounds vague, but what this tends to mean for me is that I will sit for an hour at my computer, ideally twice during that week, and just type various thoughts. I’m not guaranteeing anything will come to me, but by devoting mental space to idea generation, I’ll at least think about what might be appealing to write. And if I devote two hours a week of mental space to this question, often I will think about this question at other times too. That’s when random ideas pop into my head that might lead to something.
But anyway, “come up with a book idea” is kind of a tall order. What’s an interesting idea that I could write 70,000 words on and stay interested in for two years? What’s an idea I haven’t written before that I could enthusiastically ask my readers to spend their precious time reading?
I am trying to be patient, because I have written a lot of books and I know that something will come to me. There really isn’t a rush. If I keep thinking about this for six months and at the end of six months I have something worth writing, then that would have been a good use of time.
But boy does it sometimes feel like spinning the wheels. Time to go do other things, like play the piano, pack for spring break… Sometimes being productive, in the long run, doesn’t look so productive in the moment….