Writerly Ambition and a Secret Project

Last Wednesday, I received an e-mail about a potential writing project. I haven’t had a Secret Project in quite some time, but if I were to do this one, it would certainly qualify. I’ve already signed a nondisclosure agreement and everything.  (So don’t ask me about the details.)

To say I’m torn would be an understatement.  I’m already working on The Snow Queen’s Shadow, which is due October 1.  I’ve also got a short story for an anthology due in a week.  The deadline for this new book would be the end of this summer.

Before I go any further, I should clarify that I don’t have an offer or a contract yet.  I was asked to write up sample pages to see if I’d be right for the project.

The invite brought to the forefront something I’ve been struggling with lately.  I want to be writing more.  I’ve turned down several short fiction projects over the past month or two.  I was talking with Tobias Buckell back in January about how cool it would be to try doing a YA novel, but I just didn’t know if I could pull it off.  It’s frustrating, to say the least.

Then this invitation shows up, offering me a shot I would have killed for ten years ago.  For a book that, with all due modesty, I’m pretty much perfect for.

So I spent Saturday writing and revising a 2000-word sample chapter.  I’ve sent it in, and we’ll see what happens.  Maybe they won’t like my style, in which case, problem solved.  Maybe the offer won’t be something I’m comfortable with.  Maybe they’ll discover my blog post from last week and decide I’m too fat for their book.

In some ways, life would be simpler if this fell through.  My life is pretty full already.  Two young kids, a full time job, a house to maintain, a wife finishing grad school, a book a year with DAW…  This is where I’ve been for several years now, and it’s worked pretty well.

At the same time … this new book could be an awful lot of fun.  And there’s a part of me that wants to prove I can do it.  There’s a hunger to being a writer.  As great as my career has been so far, I want more.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my schedule for the next four months.  Based on the time it took to write and revise the first chapter, I believe I can make this work.

We’ll see what happens.  Like I said, there’s a chance I won’t even get the offer.  But even if I don’t, this has certainly gotten me thinking about my career and where I want to be, and that’s a good thing.

Wish me luck!