|Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons|
This week I started writing a new book.
Writers write novels in many different ways. Some have complete outlines detailing every plot twist. Others, like me, have only a general idea. (I usually begin a novel when I figure out the novel’s beginning, ending, main characters, and how to tell the story—structure, point of view, etc.)
And as exciting as the fresh page/blank computer screen is when you type “Chapter One,” it’s also terrifying. You can’t help but think about the thousands of hours ahead. Because as romantic as being a writer sounds, it’s more than ten thousand hours in a chair by yourself, fighting with language. And plot and characters. Yes, characters are imaginary, but they are like children, born with their own will and agenda. They are two year olds who stomp their feet and refuse to eat peas even though they loved them yesterday.
Lest I mislead you into believing the tortured artist cliché, the aloneness doesn’t bother me. I’m introverted by nature. So I’d rather be in a quiet room arm wrestling verbs than trying to calm an irrational customer. (I worked in customer service the summer between high school and college and discovered that my job was to let people vent. “Why yes, our company is made up of a bunch of losers and idiots. Thanks for noticing.”)
So compared to that, hours of chair-sitting doesn’t seem so bad. But the real reason, I’m brave enough to face that first page is because a few weeks ago in the mystical stretch of time between sleep and wake, Darcy, Meredith, Peter, and Priscilla told me bits of their story. And I have to find out the rest. That’s the romance of writing.