For every day I wasn’t been writing, I felt worse. Writing again? Bliss!

The existence of a writer is not one you should envy, trust me. Most of my author friends have day jobs, and when I see their Facebook posts, scrambling home from work, jotting down plot bunnies, or writing this scene or that chapter late at night, I still often find myself feeling envious. Envy for their jobs and the social interaction in provides them with, envy for being able to sit down and write, no matter the hour of day. Seems my brain is wired differently.

I can’t. Sit down and just write i.e.. At least not fiction, certainly not a novel. When I began writing fiction, in early January of 2013, my writing was carefree, I think my entire existence was in a state of elatedness at the time. Pregnancy hormones flooding my system (we were six months pregnant then), I had managed to get out from under a psychopathic boss largely unscathed and yes, the story within me was literally bubbling under the surface. It was on file in less than two weeks. Book number two was finished as a first draft two weeks later.

Sometimes I look back on those days and wonder how I did it. How would I deal with the death of my main character halfway through the story today? Most likely very different from what I did back then: I kept writing, and my wondrous subconscious righted it all. Thank you brain, you’re the best (mostly!) Today, I realized at around eleven in the morning that I’d run out of errands to do, places to call, invoices to pay, posts to write and even my brand new Apple Watch was conspicuously silent. Traitor!

Yeah, this is my work space while I'm in the zone in my author cave. The zone is a mental place, the author cave simply the place where I sit with my laptop, somewhere in the house, in close proximity to our espresso machine.

Yeah, this is my work space while I’m in the zone in my author cave. The zone is a mental place, the author cave simply the place where I sit with my laptop, somewhere in the house, in close proximity to our espresso machine.

Carefully I opened the two Pages documents that contain the current WIP for Disease and the notes. In my MacBook’s split screen mode, they enable me to write and keep notes at the same time. Who needs Scrivener, right? It has been so long since I last opened the document that I had forgotten much of what I’d written, where I had stopped. The story is told from the main character’s point of view, largely as diary entries, but here and there, there are comments from someone else. You’ll see why in time, i.e. if I stick to that approach. I’m not 100% sure yet. Anyway, I had just begun to add those comments when I’d been interrupted by, well, let’s call it “life”?

The refurbishment of our bathroom took two weeks, while my husband’s career suddenly jerked upward and sideways, while I’m looking for a day job, while my neighbor is threatening us again… Needless to say, it’s been crazy hectic around here. Add to that my trip to New York three weeks ago, and household work plus a secret project I’m working on, which is taking up a considerable amount of time. I had moved away from the “zone” further and further. And the further away from the zone I moved, the scarier the prospect of writing again began to feel. I was scared shitless when I finally ran out of excuses and procrastinating didn’t work any more…

This, the remodeling of our downstairs bathroom, from a mere space for the washing machine and dryer to a real bathroom for Alex and I took longer and cost tons more nerves than I ever expected.

This, the remodeling of our downstairs bathroom, from a mere space for the washing machine and dryer to a real bathroom for Alex and I took longer and cost tons more nerves than I ever expected.

When I finally laid eyes on the text again, and after I had gotten reacquainted with it, I began to edit. One character had changed their sex/gender early on (no, nothing dramatic), and I needed to fix that throughout the entire story, plus you know, once you begin to fine comb a text you always find stuff… Once that was done, I’d already added five hundred words, I was writing again, and slowly but surely I felt this odd sensation as the corners of my mouth almost magically turned upward into a faint smile. I was back in the zone.

Writing again, but differently…

Yet unlike four years ago, when I’d simply type away, I jotted down some ideas, some things (plus bunnies?) I wanted to address as the story progressed. I considered the time line, thought a lot about the ending, and how I’d get there (had what I think is a brilliant idea, but we’ll see how it pans out once I write it), and just kept writing, scene after scene. In the end, just minutes before the family descended upon the house, I had written almost five thousand words, and I’m now at 19+K (as you can see from the screen shot above). Still far from done, but my fingers itch to continue, although I may not have much time tomorrow, as I need to go to town at nine in the morning (which is why I’m writing this blog post now, Thursday evening).

In closing, let me just say this about what it feels like to be back in the zone, the emotions I feel:

  • I really want to write again, the fear I felt when I first opened the document is all but gone, and I wish my family had stayed away for a few more hours (or days) to allow me to continue uninterrupted.
  • I felt elated when I was writing again, and I feel deprived now that I am not. But I just can’t focus on writing with my husband sitting next to me on his work PC looking at employee statistics, moaning and swearing intermittently.
  • I was happy in my bubble, and I long to get back into it, to wrap that emotion of comfort around me like a blanket. Both of my characters were talking freely to me today, telling me their stories, from their two very different vantage points, and that is exactly how I like my boys (men in this case), talking to me. The plot itself is moving along nicely and the little plot bunnies will hopefully enable me to write more chapters, and right now it feels like this could quickly become a full-length novel, despite my earlier fears I might never actually finish it.
  • I’m not as freaked out about having a 75% done cover for the book any more (and less than a 25% story…)

The weekend is upon me, and next week looks promising in terms of writing again. Who knows, if I keep this up, I might have a first rough draft done by the end of May. I really, really want to be able to focus on editing this time, and I know that I have to submit the manuscript to my publisher by August 1, to allow for all the edits, changes, typesetting, proof reading and publishing to take place in time for the late October publication date. And as we all know, time flies when you’re busy and having fun, not to mention with summer and vacations looming around the corner…

Jeez, I’m just glad to be writing again… You have no idea! (…or maybe you can tell from the above?)

Have a wonderful weekend, and if you like what you’ve just read, subscribe to my monthly newsletter (top right on this page) with competitions and hopefully interesting reading, or feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Hans

PS: There are two ways you can make an author’s day: a) is to buy one of their books and b) to leave a short review of it on Amazon. Good or bad, books without (or few) reviews are generally ignored.

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