Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Making Progress on Your Novel is Hard, But You Have to Keep At It

My second novel, which shall for now remain nameless, is coming along, somewhat. Definitely slower than I had hoped. Definitely not doing the three-hundred words a day; although, I am making progress. It's hard to find the time. When I do, I try to make the most of it, though.

I don't think it is going to turn out as long as I had originally thought. I don't really think stretching it is the right approach, so it will just have to come out naturally and be what it is. That's how these things kind of take on lives of their own.

Of course, I am writing from an outline, but I am leaving a lot of room for the moment. For me, the outline is only the skeleton, and I have to flesh it out and make it a living and breathing organism. That can only come from a little bit of inspiration and a lot a bit of putting my fingers to the keyboard or my pen to the notebook and making progress.

When I think back about how I wrote the first one, I remember taking every free moment to work on it. At the time, I was living in Chicago and was constantly, every day, riding public transportation, mostly the Redline El traveling between Wrigleyville and downtown Chicago or vice versa.

For work, I got off at the State and Lake Station, which is right down the street from the Chicago Theatre; for home, I got off at Addison, which was literally Wrigley Field. With headphones buzzing, I spent equal amounts of time gawking out the window, people watching, and writing. The first draft took about six to eight months to finish in this fashion, after having spent like five years writing around thirty pages.

Then I spent a lot of time editing and rewriting it, and I would also do that while riding the trains. I paid to get it printed, so I had these giant, three-hundred-page stacks of 8.5 x 11 white paper with this world I created printed on it. I would read it and mark it up, writing in the margins; then I would go home at night and incorporate all of the changes to the file. I went through this process several times.

The second time isn't as romantic; although, I have matured quite a bit, and learned a lot, and hopefully it shows in the quality of my writing and my ideas.

Hopefully, one day, it will all pay off. Then again, maybe, in some ways, it already has... Sometimes, money isn't everything. I don't know if I can describe in concrete terms what writing does do for me, but it has to be as close of a thing to an orgasm or a religious experience as anything I have ever experienced.

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