Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"That John Denver is full of shit, man."

And so are the people who said writing a book is a piece of cake.

When people find out I'm a writer, they say one of a handful of things--after the "Really? That's cool":

1-"So do you practice the scenes in your novel with your husband, or what?" (By the creepy eyebrow raises, you'd know immediately what kind of scenes they're asking about.)
*To which I answer "No more than the murder scenes." If we "practiced" the scenes in the books I've written, Husband should be deathly afraid of water, caves, alleys in San Francisco and women with dark curly hair. *ahem


2-"I have this fantastic idea for a book! Do you want to hear it so you can write it for me?"
*To which I enthusiastically listen to an unbelievable and totally awesome story line about which I have no desire to write myself. The idea may be the best thing I've ever heard, but if it's not originally mine, I won't do the book justice.

Believe it or not, I've also heard a naive few say:

"It must be pretty easy to stay home and sit in front of the computer for hours on end and write, huh? Especially with an English degree."


Easy and Write should NEVER be in the same sentence.

I kinda thought this writing gig would get easier over time, when in fact, I think it's the opposite. Stakes raise. You've learned how to make your book shine. Now you have to put the proof in the pudding. People (your agent and editor) are depending on your book being The Best Thing You've Ever Written. (Or at the very least, better than the last one you wrote which got you representation in the first place.) Pressure builds. Because not only do you have to write your heart out, applying every single thing you've learned over the course of your writing journey, you now have to do it quickly. Of the four books I've written, it's never taken me longer than four months to write a book and another month to edit it...but can I guarantee that for the next one? No. I can't. But I have to. So I will.

Whoever said writing a book was easy was full of shit, man.

I have the third book in the Crimson Bay Series plotted out. Mostly. I introduced the hero and heroine in Book 2. I know them. I like them. I know what they want, and what has to happen to make sure getting what they want is the most difficult thing for them to accomplish. Well, I sort of know that. And even though I know where my story is inevitably going to end up, and what my turning points are along the way, that starkly white first page is still daunting as heck. I thought about writing page one, line one today...then decided to clean out my refrigerator instead.

Whoever said writing a book was easy was full of shit, man.

Whether I jump into Book 3 the next day, or the day after that, I know one thing for certain: it never gets easier. Writing is hard. It's not for the faint of heart. It's not for the insecure. It's not for the weak-minded or feeble-willed. Even though I feel that way from time to time...especially when faced with the impatiently blinking cursor...

Beginning...starting the hardest part for me.

What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?


Kaitlyn said...

Great post, Kristin! Oh goodness, that's a hard question. Umm...I think the hardest part of the writing process for me is slowing down. I'm always in such a hurry to get to the next big fight scene or the next big love scene that I get bored with the in between stuff. It's not that those in between's aren't interesting, but I'm always in a rush to get to the REALLY awesome stuff. This can be bad because getting bored can cause writer's block. Another thing I struggle with is not comparing myself to other writers. I spend very short amounts of time on some books, but others take me months and months longer to write. I often bash myself and say that I should be writing faster, editing faster, etc. But I need to remember that it's important to move at my own pace and not rush myself--I don't want to sacrifice quality. With school and two jobs, I have enough on my plate as it is without bashing my own writing process. Great post!

Nocturnal Readings

P.S If anyone has remedies for this, PLEASE SHARE lol.

Kristin Miller said...

It is sooo important to write at your own pace. It's very easy to feel down when you look at people like Nora Roberts writing 3-4 books a year that are SMASH HITS--every single one of them. But look at Susan Elizabeth Phillips...I met her at RWA National last year and she said it takes her a year and a half-two years to write a novel...but she's won more Rita Best Novel awards than any other author. She's hit NYT with almost every book she's written. Granted, it takes her longer, but I don't think there's a single person out there who would say Nora is a "better writer" simply because she can write harder and faster.

Just some food for thought...

Abby Minard said...

You are so right! When I first started writing, I thought I'd be done in a flash. Not true. While I'm finished and on my first round of edits, it took a long time for me to get there. But I have learned so much in the time it took me to write it and start editing it.

Lisa said...

Great post! I fully agree with you. The people who claim writing is easy have shit spewing forth from their ears. That's crazy talk!!!! It never gets easier, though it's always fun :)

A. J. Larrieu said...

Great post! For me, the 50k mark (which I just hit on my WIP) is the hardest. That's usually the point at which I've written the beginning and the end, and I know just about everything about the plot. Most of the key scenes are done, and now I have the hard work of getting my characters from turning point to turning point. The process of discovering the story--my favorite part--is almost complete, and I start to loose interest. Getting from 50k to 90k takes all of my discipline!

Kristin Miller said...

Abby--It does feel like it takes forever, doesn't it. I guess the old mantra holds true: it doesn't matter when you finish, as long as you do.

Lisa--It is fun! Especially when you have totally awesome critique partners to gab with. ;)

Allyn--You write the first 50K then "fill in" the rest? Holy smokes, that must be difficult. I didn't know that about your process. We must talk more. :)