What Comes Next?
Experienced writers almost always advise beginners to start their next project the same day they begin marketing their current project. There's no feeling of helplessness quite as poignant as the one that engulfs you when you've dropped your query or proposal into the mail. It's like sending your child off to college: You can only tell yourself that you've done your best and hope your best is good enough for the rest of the world.
The only antidote for that feeling, at least when it comes to writing, is to start a new project. Directing your energy into another book — or even an article or short story — prevents you from fretting unnecessarily about your first project's eventual fate. It even can help ease some of the pressure beginning writers inevitably experience. Starting a new project right away quiets the demon voice that whispers in your mind, saying your first project was a fluke. It also helps build your confidence. After all, if you have a new project to work on, you have a whole new world of possibilities.
Working on a steady stream of projects also is part of building your career. As discussed in Chapter 1, most published authors have at least three writing projects in development at any given time — one that has been written and acquired by a publisher, one that is in the query or proposal stage, and one that is in the “dreaming-up” stage. As an aspiring author, you also can have at least three projects going at once: one that you're marketing to agents and editors, one that you're researching and polishing, and one that's on your list to do next.