By Alex Segura
I have to apologize upfront - I’m gonna ramble a bit here.
It makes sense that I’m writing a blog post about having a lot to do at 1am on a Thursday morning - mere hours before this post is supposed to go live. Because, well, it’s true. I have a lot to do - and I love it.
It kind of crept up on me. I guess it became a real thing a few weeks ago, when I got notes from my agent on the manuscript for my second Pete Fernandez book, Down the Darkest Street. I sat down in front of my computer and realized that before I could dive back into the book, I had to clear my deck.
That’s not code for slacking off, or referencing the queue of Mad Men or The Americans episodes I have to watch. I had a lot of writing to do: a short story for a sci-fi anthology with a co-writer/friend, a pitch for a comic mini-series, a script for a comic book (which evolved into two scripts), a horror anthology comic short with the same co-writer plus the ever-looming novel revisions and maybe another Pete Fernandez short story bridging the gap between Silent City and the new one. Maybe.
This is what I’ve always wanted, and I’m extremely grateful it’s happening. But man, is it scary.
The writing in and of itself is difficult. I think writers are by nature insecure and that becomes more acute the more time you spend in the foxhole writing - alone, with only your thoughts to keep you company. It wears on you. And I think it bleeds into other aspects of being a writer - like interacting with people or how people respond to your work. Case in point: I ran into a friend not long ago and he said he read my book and enjoyed it. Innocent enough, right? That’s good, no? Well, my writer brain instantly took that to mean that the guy not only didn’t like my book, but was just being nice. We’re a weird group, writers. After letting my mind overthink it for a bit, I just decided to take the comment at face value. It’s really all I could do.
Anyway, my point is - the writing is hard enough. We all knew that. But when you start to build momentum, and the success or perceived success of one thing leads to other opportunities, it becomes not only about singular challenges, but also about creating balance and picking the things you really want to do that further your “career” as opposed to just saying yes to everything because you’re not sure if those things will continue to pop up if you say no. It’s a valid fear. You may turn something down and never get that request again. But you have to have faith that if you do good work.
I wish this piece was structured like my earlier DSD posts - listicles that give specific advice for how to handle certain situations. Unfortunately, I don’t feel experienced enough to write that blog post now. The truth is, I don’t have those answers yet. I have a lot of great things to work on and I need to not only carve out the time to do them - while having a pretty busy day job, a wife, family and friends - and I have to write them well and in a way that gets me jazzed about doing more. It’s a lot to think about. But these are good things. First world problem things.
This is kind of why we write in the first place. To have opportunities to tell stories and have people experience them. So, even if I’m flying blind and feeling a little overwhelmed and out of my element from time to time, I wouldn’t change a thing.