Your BEST project is always your next one

We abandon our children quickly. Quite quickly indeed. We conceive of them, nurture them, give birth to them, and set them out into the world … and then we turn our backs on them.

It’s just one of those things we do.

The project I’m always most excited about is the one I’m working on. The one I most want to talk about is the one still in the works. The best thing I’ve ever done? Still to come.

Perpetually.

Whatever I just did? Not that interested in it. Don’t really want to talk about it, usually don’t have much to say about it. I’m thinking of the NEXT thing.

This is problematic, of course, because you’re supposed to promote your latest thing. You’re supposed to get people interested in it and eager to check it out. At the very least, you’re supposed to parlay it into more (paying) jobs.

But that’s work. That’s part of the grindy, boring aspect of writing that a lot of writers don’t talk about. Plus, looking back at old glories (which to be frank are rarely all that glorious once they’re in the rear view mirror) feels too much like patting yourself on the back and deciding that you’ve accomplished all you want to accomplish. “Look, I did it! Ta-da!”

Where’s the excitement in that?

The truth is that excitement in this line of work is rare. It’s a job, just like any other. An enjoyable job, yes, but a job all the same. It’s work. So those moments when you are genuinely excited about what you do, it’s probably because you’re about to create something new. You’re about to get caught up in that intoxicating rush of making something amazing appear on the page. THAT is thrilling. THOSE are the moments we live for. THAT is what we want to talk to people about.

But as those words hit the page, the moment is gone. By giving birth to what you had envisioned, you kill the moment. It’s gone.

The only thing to look to, then, is the NEXT thing you’re excited to create.