Will they like me? Am I good enough?
Actually, it doesn’t start out that way. It begins with a Thor/Odin god-complex. Making the New York Times Bestseller list. Building a mansion with the proceeds. Flashing lightbulbs and paparazzi.
The success of the previously unknowns sticks in your head. J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James.
The ease of achieving fame. Take a movie character, add their manuscript newly printed on a shelf of paper, talk to a publisher, and instantly you are a Published Author making untold riches. Cheaper By the Dozen, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (excellent oldie, btw).
But wait. What about:
- Research—as in placing Stonehenge to the south and west of London and not east in the English Channel
- Continuity or Flow
- Avoiding Tropes and Clichés
- Critiques, Betas, Editors
- And Editing
- And Editing
- The Query
- The Synopsis
- Marketing (cursing softly)
But forget all that. Let’s talk about the important stuff a
writer has in their deranged toolbox. Such as:
Writing Material. Post Its, stacks of notebooks—all sizes from dividers to 5 x 7 memo pads—scribbling on a tissue box, and yes, napkins. (thank you Janie Junebug).
My house has paper sources (or tissue boxes) strewn every five feet in case inspiration strikes.
The Voices. Don’t you hate it when you’re arguing with a character and a family member interrupts? Or a total stranger in the mall? Never mind the wide-eyes and halting questions. I wish they'd stop with the 911 calls.
Alien abduction. A scene or conversation (see above) clarifies in your mind and you want to type it out before forgetting it. The sun is a bare sliver above the horizon when you begin. Then it’s time for lunch and people are whining. You swear it was only seconds ago.
Okay, come clean. If you’re a writer, you’ve dealt with Time Lapse. It happens. Admit it.
Alien abduction is the only answer.
Exercise. How in the Holy Hades is a person supposed to keep active when the MC is in trouble and my hunky hunk is following the trope trail in need of a re-write?
Although I swear by my few Fitbit, I could do without the snippy 'tude it assumes.
Just so yanno, writing the next Great American Novel is not on the road map necessarily. Writing, composing, sorting through scenes, beating your head against the wall...it is a dirty, frustrating, embarrassing, gut-wrenching business.
And a marvelous, creative, exciting adventure that gives me
goosebumps thinking about it.
But just as important, every writer—from Newbie to NYT bestseller—knows this thought will keep them company at every stage: