"When Is Book ___ Coming Out?" Asked Someone, The SAME Day That Book ___ Was Released.

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I had another blog ready to post, but this one was on my heart.

This isn’t a rant, but there are some frustrations that are accompanied by the question of when next books are to be released the same day that a book in the series releases or shortly after. As an author, here lately, I’ve noticed that the respect for the writing process and the life of authors has started to evaporate.

I’ve been shelling out books as fast as life has allowed for the last three years of my career, which have been devastatingly torturous to my mind and body. What many neglect to comprehend is that authors aren’t magical inhuman beings that are able to sprinkle dust on a page and words appear. Creating an illusion takes time.

It may take you only 3-10 hours to read a book, but it takes us about 50-200 hours to write the book. Unless someone is writing morning, noon, night and during sleep hours, it is impossible to meet the standards that are being set for authors as far as timelines for books to be released.

Yes, one of your favorite authors may produce a book a month. In fact, I was once one of those authors shelling out one (most times two) books a month to keep my readers satisfied, but I got to a point that I wasn’t satisfied. Not with my progress in LIFE (not in literature, but in LIFE), as a mother, as a daughter or as a friend.

My world had began to revolve around my writing and my readers. Books consumed me. I got to a point that I didn’t want company or phone calls because it would disturb the groove of my writing. Relationships with others diminished and life for me became one lonely black hole. I figured as long as I was pumping out books and my readers were happy, then I could manage. Well, that was until depression hit me like a sack of bricks that I realized I had to LIVE and living didn’t require sitting at my computer for hours upon hours a day. It meant smelling the roses while I still have the chance.

But, let me be honest with you for a quick second and put my foot down a little. I’d choose motherhood over writing ANY DAY. If writing means neglecting my duties as a mother and utilizing every waking hour of my day to slave over my computer, then I will quickly say fuck this shit and never release another book as long as there is breath in my body. Mothers are superhuman as it is. Our mental and emotional capacity is limited. We use the most of it to be mindful and aware of our children at all times… Even when we aren’t aware of ourselves.

Well, characters are children, too. They need to be nurtured and cared for, too. They require just as much patience and time as my child does and it will be a cold day in hell before I decide to tend to them before I do the one I pushed from my vagina.

Not to mention the fact that I’m currently carrying baby number two. My load will soon double and my books may even slow down a bit more. Am I to feel guilty for taking time to adjust to new baby because I can’t shell out part three to a book that I released part two of a month or two before my child was born? Am I to worry about producing book three rather than trying to catch up on sleep during my newborn’s cat naps? Life is happening here, folks. And, all I’m proposing is that we begin to respect the process of writing as well as the lives of writers.

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There are so many elements that are accompanied in the writing process that we don’t mention or don’t feel the need to because our process should simply be respected regardless, but let me let you in on a few of our secrets and tell you exactly why writing a book isn’t always a walk in the park.

  • 50-200 hours is approximately the time it takes to pen a FULL novel.

  • No, we don’t write for 50-100 hours straight. Those hours are split between days because it is impossible.

  • Another reason our hours are split is because stories take time to develop. It isn’t all there on day one.

  • We don’t start writing, immediately. There’s character development, outlining, location research, occupational research, research of conditions and possibilities and a plethora of other research.

  • Personally, character development requires two days for me. I work with my characters for about two hours each of those days because creating them requires much brain power, power that is depleted in two hours.

  • Outlining, for me, takes about three days. (So, developing the storyline & characters actually require a week. Five days.)

  • Characters shut up, sometimes for weeks. If the characters aren’t talking then the writer isn’t writing. Trust me.

  • We don’t FORCE our pen. If we did, you would recognize the signs in the stories and it won’t be a good experience for either of us.

  • We have to be in a mood. Certain things must be set in place in order for us to write. Every writer has a mood. Some days, we aren’t able to obtain that mood, which means that we may not write that day.

  • Any changes to our environment can be hazardous to our writing that day and cause us to not write or end our session early.

  • Writing sessions require peace and much thought. No calls. No texts. No social media. No children. No spouse. Just you and your thoughts. (When you have a family, you can’t possibly write all day without neglecting them.)

  • Characters take on the project which means your outline is void, now. Stopping to reconstruct your outline may require another three days to adjust it because your characters decided the story should go another way.

Then, there are life’s complications that arise while writing.

  • Babies get sick and require our attention.

  • Families must eat, which puts a halt to our sessions.

  • Kids must get dropped off at school and picked up, which halts our sessions.

  • We get sick, which means a halt to our sessions.

  • Bad news is delivered which alters our schedule.

  • Cars break down, which alters our schedule.

  • Depression hits.

  • Pregnancies happen.

  • Family visits from out of town.

  • Weekend become family time being that the weekdays are meant for writing.

  • Doctors visits must not be missed.

  • Cars are wrecked.

  • Homes are bought.

  • Other projects arise.

    Then, there are physical complications that arise while writing.

  • Writers often wear braces on their hands and arms to help support their limbs and ease the pain and discomfort that typing for hours cause. This cause a delay in writing as well.

  • Writers sometime develop carpal tunnel from the strenuous activity of writing.

  • There’s back pain from sitting in a chair, up in bed or at your desk for hours a day to write.

  • There’s neck pain.

  • There’s shoulder pain.

  • There are headaches from staring at a computer screen for hours on end.

  • There are migraines from overwhelm.

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I could go on and on about the writing process and how much it requires, but I’m aware that you’ve gotten the point. Again, this isn’t a rant, but more of insight so that you can begin to understand that your questions are like needles being thrusted into our sides.

I have a universal answer so that you won’t have to ask your favorite author this question, again.

The book will be out when it comes out.

There. I’ve fixed it so that no one will ever have to wonder when another book is being released. Be considerate and give people time to exercise their strategies as writers and not feel rushed. * chuckles * AND NOT HAVE TO READ ABOUT IT IN REVIEWS AFTER THE AUTHOR WAS RUSHED TO PUT THE BOOK OUT.

Unless I have reached the 120 day mark with no update, no release information or no intentions of sharing when I plan to release, then you have permission to ask me where the heck the book is. But, until that time, lay low.

Asking an author when the next book is coming out soon after they’ve released a book in that series is like asking a mother who has just birthed a child when she is going to have the next one. It is just not nice.

There was a time when I waited years for sequels. Not that I’d intentionally keep readers waiting for that long, but there was patience once and that patience should reinvent itself soon. Trust me… We’re working even when we’re not working. Our characters are lingering and their stories will be told. On our time.

As I had this conversation with my mother this morning, she made perfect sense. She said that it was okay to release this blog and not sound crazy because she felt that it was important that I address the question if it is continuing to be asked. I explained how much I love my readers and didn’t want to come off as an asshole, and she assured me that I wouldn’t.

She wanted me to ask the question: Would you rather me be a robot pushing out content at your request or be the mother my children require and maintain the sanity in order to even produce more content?

She went on to say that she understands (as a reader) how important it is to know what happens next in the series. But, as my mother she sees me busting my butt so she is able to understand if I can’t produce a sequel the second I release the prior book in the series.

I refuse to let my creativity be limited to a certain timespan by someone who doesn’t understand what is required for ME to produce. The day that I allow the restrictions that are attempting to be placed, I will throw in the towel because then it is no longer my own.

Let us work.

Let us produce.

Let us create.

And, I promise we will get these books to you as soon as life allows it. Until then, exercise the patience that I’m certain you have stored somewhere safe.

My prayer is that this blog reaches you and gives you more insight on what we go through to produce these books. In no way am I not thankful for your support. I adore you guys, but I would also like for you to support my life and the things it throw my way. Support my craft and the time that it takes… not just the books that come from it all.

As humble as I know how, I’m asking that you NEVER ask me that question, again. I’m working and will bring you the thunder soon enough.

Mercy B CarruthersComment