Well there’s no denying it, writing a novel is hard work. I spent so long editing the Shadow Series that to some degree I forgot what it was like to actually write a novel, after all it has been a few years since I finished the last one!
There’s a lot of hard work, even when you have an outline for the story, things change. Characters get in the way, you realise something’s missing and you need to change directions or suddenly you discover a major plot flaw. To be honest it’s one of my favourite things about writing a book, I almost feel as though each little speed bump is steering the fate of the novel to a place it was always meant to end up. I’ve heard so many authors say it, and it’s absolutely true—you are just a vessel, the characters tell their own story. And the challenges make the accomplishment worth so much more!
In saying that, it does take determination to work through the pitfalls. There’s nothing better than sitting down with your laptop and letting the words pour out, but it isn’t always like that. There are times when you just sit and stare out the window wondering how you’re going to continue. The key is to never give up, even when the writing’s bad and the story sucks you just keep going, rewriting until every little piece fits together.
Here’s where my secret weapon comes into it.
People often ask how I find the motivation to write novels, for me the answer is quite simple—once I start, it’s harder for me to stop than it is to continue. I have an inability to leave any project unfinished, I’m not sure if it’s extreme motivation or just plain OCD. But I’m not complaining. Once the first chapter of a book is written, I’m following it right to the end. There are a lot of authors who have a few stories on the go, they work on different ideas and write new material while they are editing something old. This is pretty useful to distance yourself from a story but I just can’t do it. When I’m working on something I have to give it everything and there’s no space for anything else in my head. Without this little quirk in my personality I don’t know if I’d be a writer, it’s my driving force; the thing that keeps me going no matter what obstacles get in my way.
Who could wish for more right?
Well everything must have balance and this little obsession carries over to the rest of my life. No matter what I start I can’t leave it undone! Even if it’s a huge time waster. My examples might break a few hearts but I have to say it … Game of Thrones, I know everyone loves the TV series but I don’t. I hate it in fact, the characters are awful, I can’t relate to them, I don’t like the setting, the list goes on, but I had to watch the entire first series even though I knew I hated it after just a few episodes.
And a few years ago I subscribed to a movie magazine. I found myself reading every single article word for word, even the ones I wasn’t interested in. It was so time consuming, and I was barely absorbing the information but I couldn’t stop. It took great effort for me to acknowledge there just wasn’t time in my life for this magazine once a month.
Even when I’m reading a book, this little quirk looms over me. If I hate what I’m reading I have to finish it. It’s ridiculous! Sometimes my reading slows to a page a night but I can’t move on until it’s finished. Recently I attempted Anne Rice’s Violin, I made it halfway and decided this obsessive follow through had to stop, I hate the book! But even as I write this blog it sits on my shelf taunting me. All I have to do is resist the urge to pick it back up, eventually I’ll have to forget about it right?
What can I say it’s a blessing and a curse, my secret weapon. But reading things I despise and watching hours of bad TV shows is a small price to pay! OCD in a writer … maybe not such a bad thing.