You need to put words on pages to make books. It’s more about quality than quantity but you must have both. And it takes time and hard work. Right now I’m focused on writing a new novel – my fourth book. It’s zipping along but there have been moments of despondency – and doubt that I’d ever get it done.
In the early part of 2016 I did planning and research, and began to write in May. The actual writing is always exciting but it can be daunting when you realize what a long slog it’s going to be and how much there is to do. It was like being at the bottom of tall wooded hill, gazing upwards. So I bolstered up my confidence and commitment. I galvanized the enthusiasm and energy needed to climb to the top and get back down successfully. Inevitably I took a few wrong paths, stumbled, was unable to see my way and lost the thread. I wrote for three months until the end of July, when I felt rather bogged down with the large cast of characters and a complex plot. Words became tangled in thickets, blocked by obstacles, and there were moments when I floundered in the quagmire of confusion. I took three months off in the summer to spend time with family and to rethink the work in progress. During the break my only achievement was finding a title: ‘Dear Magpies’.
I recommenced work with a clear head and renewed zeal in October and finished about a third of the book by the end of the year. By this time some of the clouds had cleared and I could see the top of the hill. When 2017 arrived, I set myself the goal of getting the rest of the book finished by 31st March. Quite some undertaking! I should state that the end of the book is not when you scale the summit of the hill but when you get back down to the bottom on the other side. I hit the top – the halfway point – in January and that was good. By then I had much of the story told and many words had flowed from head onto page. The horizon was visible so I had a better perspective on how I was doing. I could now see the ground far below and it looked easy enough to find my way back down to the end of the trek and the finish. So I set off down and disappeared among the trees and pitfalls of creativity.
In February I discovered I was no longer footsore. On 1st March I found myself at the wheel of a little car which gathers momentum as I head downhill. I had a month to go and about quarter of the book to write but I’ve worked out how to resolve the various plot lines and bring everything to a conclusion which will surprise and satisfy the reader. But the going’s still hard and at times the book can be a real pain. Some days the words gush out like water from a tap and other days writing feels like wading through treacle. Though I still have many thousands of words to compose, the end is in sight, although sometimes I have the illusion that the finishing posts are being moved further away. So we drive faster, me and my car. It’s going to be glorious to accelerate through the final paragraphs and sentences. Then the screech of brakes to the final words – and a sigh of relief. The story will be told. My book will be done.