I have reached my goal. Friends and family have expressed their pride and exultation. Frostarc has sold a handful of copies and I’ve been asked to autograph a few of those. It’s been fun and silly. It’s been short and bittersweet. Now what?
I want to say onward to the next novel, and that will most likely be the case, but I can’t help but feel humbled by the experience. The goal was to publish my novel, but as soon as that task was completed, the instant I clicked the final button to publish the book, that goal was washed away and replaced by another. Another goal that may take a long time to accomplish.
Other than a brief moment of relief and joy, I felt little satisfaction in completing my book. One day it was the highest priority on my list, and sometime between that day and the next it had dropped off my radar completely. Overnight my novel had transformed from an amazing achievement into a small stepping stone at the beginning of a long, rising path.
There is a choice to make. I can be happy with the fact that I have completed a novel and move on to another tangent, another goal in life. Not many people do you meet who have written and published a novel. It will forever be a great talking point, something I can boast about with just pride. It’s something I can share with family and friends for the rest of my life.
Or I can choose to go onward to the next novel. This path doesn’t diminish the importance of my first book, but it increases the scale to a lifetime of work, skewing my perception of Frostarc away from being THE book to being merely the FIRST book of many years of hard work to come. This choice would turn that pile of Frostarc books on my bookshelf into a source of encouragement and inspiration, a reminder to keep going forward. I could choose to leave it be as a standalone piece, and smile every time I look at the novel.
But I will move onward. I want to. I want this work. I want this chance to leave behind a legacy, even if it a fictional one. I want this to be who I am; not just a small part of my young life, but a large part of my entire life.
So onward to the next. Maybe it won’t take four years this time around. Maybe it will be shorter, maybe longer. However many months or years it takes, it will be better than the last. And so will the next, and the one after that.
One small stepping stone succeeded, and on to the next.
I wonder if this is why so many authors are depressed drunks. Completing a novel didn’t change my perception of life like I expected it to. It filled no gaps in my soul or heart, and may have in fact widened them.
Still, onward I go.