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The Only Thing Worse than a Book Tour Is No Book Tour

photo by rhetoricjunkie

It’s been a busy few months.

The film of How I Live Now, my first novel, has come out in the UK and the US after ten years in development.  It was directed by Kevin MacDonald (Last King of Scotland) and starred Saoirse Ronan, who’s one of my favorite people in the world, despite her ridiculous amount of talent, perfect skin, mad sense of humor and general niceness (god, I hate all that in a person).

In the meantime, my new novel, Picture Me Gone [2], is out in the UK and the US.  And it’s a finalist for the National Book Award (which is announced today, folks, fingers crossed if you don’t mind). [3]

This is all good stuff.  Fantastic stuff.  Amazing stuff.  So why do I feel like punching the next person who walks up to me and says, “Hey, Meg!  So!  Living the dream, eh?”

For the past two months I’ve been answering a zillion e-mails from lovely fans who really liked the book but want to know why the film is rated R.  Or why the dog is different.  Or why Piper has red hair.  Ask Kevin, I say sweetly.

For the past two months I’ve spent hours speaking and writing and appearing at Q&As about a film I didn’t write, so that when people demand to know why Edmond is older in the movie than the book, or why he’s called Eddie, or why Daisy’s a blonde not a brunette, or why there’s a bird….I shrug.  Ask Kevin, I say sweetly.

In my spare time, I’ve written about 650 articles for the British press.  Articles about the book, about the film, about stuff vaguely related to the book and the film, about stuff not at all related to books or films, about stuff barely related to me.  I’ve spent so many hours writing so many articles, I’d say I’m pretty much a household name in Britain these days.  It hasn’t made the book a bestseller or the film a blockbuster hit, but still.  “Really worth doing,” says my PR.

Of course there’s one thing I haven’t been doing for the past couple of months.  You guessed it.  Writing.

There’s no time to write.  No time to do my taxes either, or walk the dogs, or make dinner for my family or pay the car insurance or see my long-lost friends.

Am I complaining?  Of course I’m not.  I’m living the dream, have a film out, am a finalist for the National Book Award.  I couldn’t be more excited.

But I’m not writing.  And as I embark on an American book tour, I don’t see much writing in the near future either.  Which makes me panicky.  Despite the fantastic positive things in my life, I’m convinced I’ll never write another book again.  And even if I do, it won’t be any good because I don’t have time to write – or think — any more. Of course I’m not complaining.  Cause I’m so lucky.  Really, I know I am.  Only I’m so anxious, I might have a nervous breakdown, or develop a pathological fear of flying on the way to NYC, or….worse.

Because I’m not writing.  And isn’t that what writers are supposed to do?

Two months from now, when a gruesome silence has descended over my life – when the phone never rings and no emails ping through, when my agent won’t take my calls and no one cares whether I live or die, I’ll look back at these months as the best time of my life.

Which just goes to prove that no one’s ever happy.

And that goes double for writers.  When we’re not writing.

Feel out of sorts when you’re not writing, too? Let’s hear about it in comments.

About Meg Rosoff [4]

Meg Rosoff [5] was born in Boston, educated at Harvard and worked in NYC for ten years before moving to England permanently in 1989. She wrote her first novel, How I Live Now, (released late 2013 as a feature film starring Saoirse Ronan), at age 46. Her books have won or been shortlisted for 19 international book prizes, including the Carnegie medal and the Michael J Printz award. Picture Me Gone, her sixth novel, was shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Award . She lives in London with her husband and daughter.