I am afforded a precious block of hours today for the sole purpose of writing and my book is leaping forward toward its conclusion with exhilarating speed. Like a lot of worthy work, none of today’s rapid progress would be possible without hours and days of seemingly fruitless toil that preceded it. Here are a few things to which I attribute two excellent new chapters added in a single afternoon:
1. Fellow Writers’ Feedback: Even the broad statements that felt vaguely discouraging at the time that I heard them are turning out to be powerful guiding voices as I race toward the end of my book. One fellow writer critiqued my early chapters by saying, “Whew! This is so heavy! I need some hope, here. Can’t you lighten this up a bit?” At first, I dismissed her comments as discouraging and put them in the back of my mind. Now, however, as I try to press my themes and points home with a readership that will likely feel much the same way she did, I know precisely what my readers will be longing for and can speak to it.
2. Adequate Germination Time: I hadn’t written for over a week before today and felt a growing pressure with each passing hour to produce. Today was a great reminder that one very important part of the process of writing is allowing ideas to grow in our subconscious. Give scenes and characters time to grow. Sleeping and resting and goofing off are as much a part of being a writer as actually putting the words on the page.
3. Plot-Outlining: I ignored this important step in writing a novel for way too long. Now that I’ve actually written my self a scene-by-scene road-map, I have made it possible to keep my momentum into whole chapters, whole acts at a time. Even though that road-map has changed dramatically throughout the process, it is a map nonetheless.
Man, I love being a writer.