On March 16, 2010, I began writing my first novel as an adult. I had just graduated college with my bachelors in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing, Fiction, and I wasn't going to waste any time. Just as my professor Ron Carlson told me, I was going to set a precedent for my working life. The first thing I did after finishing my last college class was start my novel.
Five days later, I wrote my first blog post on this blog, sending it out into the void. After 373 days, I finished my first draft. Now, 3 years, 2 months and 12 days after that day in March, I'm still working on that same novel.
It's been a long and tedious process, mainly because of life. In those 3 years, I've gotten engaged, then married. I moved to my first new home since I was 8 years old. And I've been working full-time 50 miles from my home. So, really I should be a lot further along.
I workshopped one my chapters with a friend a few weeks ago. We were sitting down and working the plot points for the next few chapters of my book. I knew that at the end of Chapter 6, I needed to get from B to C, but I didn't know how. So, sitting in Souplantation and surrounded by empty soup bowls, we put our thinking caps on and threw out ideas until we decided on a few that would work.
I remember writing novels in middle school. Though horribly cliche, I recall the passion and excitement that carried me through the first drafts with a simple ease. I would rush to finish my homework just so I could sit in front of the computer for a few hours and work on my book before bedtime. I remember the thrill, that high I would get when I would write something exciting. It was like I was reading the same book I was creating. I had no inhibitions, no hesitations.
Now as an adult, imagination is a struggle. I've received instruction and read and read and read advice after advice on the writing process. My brain interferes with that "simple ease" I used to have a decade ago. And sometimes it comes down to being huddled around a piece of paper and a pen, just brainstorming and throwing out ideas.
To succeed in writing a novel (not even approaching the publishing part yet), you don't need to be talented. Talent comes in handy to writing a good book, but completing a novel is mostly just hard work. Nose-to-the-grindstone hard work. Most people who start on this journey don't have it in them to finish it. Why?
Because you have to really love what you are doing to do it after the kids have gone to bed when you're past tired. To do it after you've driven an hour in traffic and then cooked dinner. To pour hours and hours into it without pay.
So, to all of those on this journey with me, keep that nose to the grindstone.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Writer's Block Doesn't Exist
Journey of Writing
The Test for Every Writer
Musings on the Writing Life