One of the most challenging aspects of writing a book is always…well, the writing of it.
Those first few sessions in which I have to battle inertia and just “get words out” are always the absolute hardest for me. I don’t yet have a daily writing rhythm, nor have I found my groove in the story. It is only with monumental effort that I can even sit at a keyboard and start typing.
Certainly there are times when I’m inspired to write and I just dive right in to a project. The first book in The Luminaries (which comes out next October) was like that. The first book in The Witchlands–Truthwitch–was too. But…no other stories have burst forth from me with such enthusiasm. All the rest have required heaps of self-discipline and more than a little self-bullying.
Part of the problem is that EVERY TIME I START A NEW BOOK, I discover I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. The fact that I have written 12? 13? books before seems to have absolutely no bearing on my ability to write another. Because every new book is a reinvention of the wheel.
No, literally. It is! I can’t go back to a previous book I wrote, tweak a few things to make it better, and then say, Voila! Done! New and improved wheel ready to be used! This one has SPIKES for better traction!
Instead, I have to look at my problem–what would make movement easier?–and find a solution that is completely unlike the last wheel.
Hmmm, perhaps I’ll make wings this time instead.
Maybe you see why I (and so many other writers) have such a tough time getting started. We have a new problem every time that must be solved in a completely unique way. It’s a LOT for one brain, you know?
This is my 10th (!) NaNoWriMo, yet I am once again faced with a blank page and a growing panic that I will not be able to do this because WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO THIS NEW STORY PROBLEM? WHERE IS THE CHEAT SHEET?
Yet somehow, I will do it. Just as all of you will. We will sit at our keyboards and notebooks, and we will put words onto a page. Then we will do the same thing again tomorrow. Then the next day and the next. Until soon enough, we will finally break free from the gravitational force that holds us down, the inertia that wants to keep us locked in place.
We will find our story, the words will come forth, and we will discover that we were actually looking at our problem all wrong. You see, we aren’t merely writers, transcribing text onto a page. We are problem solvers, we are creators, we are inventors.
And this time–for this book, for this problem–we have invented wings. We have, once more, found a way to fly.