Recently I started slowing down on how many nights I spend writing. After writing every single day for 2 years in a row, it took its toll. This was in addition to working full time, and playing tennis, housework, and keeping up with friends. My characters in my book lost their voices, and I almost stopped caring.
If anyone tells you that writing is easy, they’re lying. Writing is not something that everyone can do. Yes, you have to write essays and papers to get through college, but that’s different. To write from passion, to write creatively, and to describe characters in multiple settings in plots is very different. You have to basically create an imaginary friend and take her/him everywhere you go. You have to dress this person in the morning, including combing/brushing her/his hair, right down to remembering to zip his fly/button her shirt. Then you have to converse with this character. Some people in real life are cantankerous, and so can your character be an ornery old shit. Or a disapppointed housewife, even a sex addicted guy. Whatever comes out of your imagination, the sky’s the limit. But however that character is created, must come from your mind on to paper in a readable, exciting form, or you won’t be able to buy a reader. And that’s the rub, which is why writing is not for everyone.
You also must have the patience of a saint to write, edit, and re-write one measly sentence up to 20 times or more before it “feels” right enough to include in your story. However you dress Mrs. Dansky one summery day might not be right a year from now, when you really think she’d look better in plaid. Times change, moods change, and your writing style will change. You might improve, and you might slip backwards. But be prepared. Always, a story is never “finished” until it goes to press, and even then, you might still think it’s not good enough. Hemingway did that. Constantly revised everything until it drove him insane. Literally.
It took me 6 weeks from start to finish to write my first novel, a silly little tome called “Imperfections.” The only perfection of this story was the name of the book, design of the cover and the bookmarks I had created to help sell the book. It embarasses me to admit I ever published the darn thing. Thankully I used a fictitious name!
It also took me 6 weeks to pen my 2nd novel, called “Truth Is.” But, it took me nearly 2 years to get it edited, a cover designed, the book sold, and even then, I used a Canadian publisher, where my books got hung up in customs so I missed a book signing with subsequent book selling. UGH Never hope to go there again. Canadians are nice people but work at a snail’s pace when it comes to deadlines.
My 3rd novel is a work in progress, going on 3 years now, with at least 5 plot major changes, all for the best. I now have 10 evolving plots, and 5 main characters which sit on my shoulders during the day and follow me around at night. I love them all. Each one is unique is his/her own right, and deserves to be heard. It’s hard to tell which character carries the story, although when you’re reading each individual’s version, you think, “Yes! She’s the true voice of this family.” Below is a photo of me when I’m not writing, but instead have just returned from whacking tennis balls to clear my head after 6 hours of marathon writing.