It always starts the same way, “That is the best story idea I’ve ever had! I must write this down!” A quick scribble note in my phone at a red light is where the ‘magic’ usually happens then it’s just a long, slow, spiral down the rabbit hole from there.
Days later after I ponder the idea I’ll open my laptop and at least begin with a few pages maybe even a chapter. The first little bit seems to flow so effortlessly I begin to feel like, ‘finally this is going to be an easy story to write’, WRONG!
I hit a speed bump, my mind turns to mush, I can’t concentrate, I stare at the white page for hours, that fucking little blinking cursor taunting me, and I begin to doubt every reason I ever wanted to write in the first place. I close my laptop, walk away, and turn on Netflix. (Because why not?)
I spend the next few days buried deep in self loathing and junk food. (Because I’ve given up alcohol unless I’m out to dinner with the husband) I feel like an idiot and a failure because I can’t come up with a way to connect the first part of my story to the next part I want to get to. So I start trying to figure it out which almost always leads to, “I need a new journal!” Of course I absolutely cannot write until I get something to write my ideas in so off to the store I go. I scour the aisle for my favorite notebook, buy it, go home to show the husband then set it aside until I have a nice block of quiet time that I can devote just to it.
Another few days go by. Don’t get me wrong I’m usually trying to think of story ideas and plot points during these days, mostly when I’m in the car because that seems to be the only time I can think clearly between a day job, two teens, and hubby time.
FINALLY I think I have enough ideas and a chuck of time to sit down and plot the story out. I turn on a show I’ve watched countless times (usually Greys Anatomy) open my notebook and begin to write everything down. I plot out my characters, certain scenes, plot points, etc. After all of that I realize I still don’t know how to connect part one to the next part of my story. I place the notebook aside.
I spend the rest of the evening and the next day thinking about nothing much other than this story when suddenly it hits me like a brick in the face! I know how to connect my scenes! Of course this happens at 1pm while I’m at work so I quickly open up Dropbox or my notebook if I happen to have it and jot down my plan. Back to work….
For the next few days I may actually manage to wake up early (ha) and/or get some words down on my lunch break. Luckily once I get going I can knock out 3,000 to 5,000 words in no time unfortunately that’s only 5,000 to maybe 10,000 a week because once again after a chuck of words I once again hit a wall. I throw my hands up, return to my Netflix bubble, and the evil cycle begins again.
I swear I don’t have ADD. I can focus like nobodies business but when it comes to writing my brain just shuts down. Many wonder why I even bother since it seems like such a torturous process and honestly sometimes I wonder the same thing myself but the truth is, I love it. I love being able to express myself in a story, to say the things I think, to express feelings that tend to boil over inside me. I’m a hopeless romantic so I love to live that over and over again through my characters. I also love when it’s done. That feeling of accomplishment is unmatched by anything else and holding that first ARC in my hands is a high I never want to come down from. That’s what pushes me to finish. That high. I’m always reaching for it. Sales or no sales I’m happy my words are out there.
So a few more days of a slump then miraculously I know where to go with the story next, I write, then another slump, and it’s the same process for months until finally I have a finished manuscript. Is it pretty? No. Is it flawless? Hell no! Does it make sense? Probably not. But it’s finished and that’s what an editor is for. 😉
The writing process for me is long and drawn out with many hurdles and many self loathing nights of doubt and disgust but I try not to let that stop me. There are many highs and lows BUT the end result will always be worth it. I may never make a best seller list, I may not sell that many books, my story may never be turned into a movie (that’s usually a blessing) BUT I refuse to stop. This is my outlet and I will continue to write until my brain is drained of every possible idea I can come up with.
It’s not always pretty but it is always worth it.
And now I just thought of how to connect my two scenes! Later!
Thanks for reading!