Take Five: #19 of 30: The 24-hour novelist

Take Five
Five-minute reads about writing
Nov. 3 - Nov. 30, 2010

Courtesy: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
Twitter: @RandomMagicTour

#19 of 30: The 24-hour novelist

When it comes right down to it, the process of writing is both very hard and very boring. This is true even for experienced writers. 

Apart from the few moments of inspiration where the writing comes very easily and rapidly, the writing process, overall, involves a lot of hard graft. A writing project of any kind, but particularly a lengthy one, is a slacker-free zone.

Most of the time, getting the story on paper is just a matter of planting your behind in a chair and just writing and writing and writing for hours, until the story starts to shape itself. 

Also, a lot of the writing bit of it isn’t actually writing, at all, it’s thinking. 

You just have to be sort of obsessed with your story, and willing to devote huge amounts of energy to sorting out little arcane details that wouldn’t matter to anyone else. 

So, you’re not only putting in all these hours at the keyboard, but all these other hours away from the keyboard. 

It’s sort of like when you hear people complaining about school -- first you have to sit through all these classes, then you have to prep for a test, then, on top of everything, there’s homework. And then they think about it and want to run away screaming. But it’s all necessary. 

So, the hours you spend writing are important. The hours you spend thinking about things are important. The odd thoughts you take the time to jot down are important, because they might have the answer to some writing problem you’re trying to solve.

But you can’t skip any of it. If you do, you're only cheating yourself.

Life interrupts you, and not everyone thinks it’s worth the time to use all this mental energy in sorting out what happens, why, when, where, and so on. 

No one else can help you, because you’re the only one who knows the story, so you’re the only one who can solve it. 

So, you can’t even lean on getting a little bit of tea and sympathy, because you’re the one who has to figure it out. 

But if you’re going to finish your book, then you just have to commit to it and not stop until the story is complete. Then you can maybe have a rest. 

But first…back to the keyboard. Or sitting around thinking. Or scribbling down a note about a solution that's just occurred to you, while you were waiting for a train or bus or plane or lunch break.

The hours you put into actually sitting there working out the story on the screen are going to be long hours, but don't forget about those other hours you'll be spending working on your story. 

Don't think that just because you're not at the keyboard, those other hours aren't important. They're all important.

From author interview with Sasha Soren.
Interviewer: Book Junkie (@bookjunkie74)

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