I have kid analogies in my brain all the time. Forgive me.
As I mentioned the other day, my WiP is out with its first beta reader. And already my brain is in What's-Next mode.
I'm holding back, though. I have a feeling that if I start plotting my next book, I'm going to lose motivation to work on my WiP ... and I know my WiP still needs a lot of work.
It's similar to when your baby reaches a milestone: Your six month old cuts teeth. Your one year old takes steps. Your twenty month old uses an iPhone (pictured).
You feel sadness that your baby is growing up. You may even shed nostalgic tears. And then there's that stirring, that whisper ... "Is it time for another one?"
Okay, some of you are laughing at me. You're looking at my family picture and realizing why I have so many children. Yes, I'm a baby addict. My babies are barely out of diapers (sometimes not even) and I'm popping out the next one already.
I'm the same way with my novels. During the querying process of one manuscript, I'm already half-way through the rough draft of something new.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Well, as with most life decisions there are pros and cons.
Pro: I don't get hit so hard with Query Funk. I have something new to look forward to. Rejections don't sting so much because my next book is so much better (right?).
Cons: I wonder if I give up too easily. Rationale: Okay, twenty people rejected this one. Instead of going back and revising and trying to fix some of the problems, I'll shelve it. I'm almost finished with my new WiP anyway. I'll just work on that.
Very much like child spacing. There are disadvantages to having your children all right on top of each other. I know people whose children are a year apart. Those are tough early years. Those babies who are still babies are also big siblings who have to learn to grow up pretty quickly.
But on the other hand, I know families with kids six to ten years apart. The parents are more sane, but there's something nice (albeit at times chaotic) about kids having their siblings as playmates.
The bottom line is finding the right balance for YOU. Are you the type of person to work on one novel and tirelessly query it for ten years, or are you going to shell out ten novels in the same amount of time and trust that you'll learn enough by the tenth one to make it brilliant. Or is there a happy medium?
Different methods work for different people. What's your rule-of-thumb for the timing of a new project?