The Distraction of Writing

I believe, a long time ago (but not quite in a galaxy far, far away), I promised to construct a post about how writing a novel consumes your life. Well, I’ve finished writing the novel, and after a week of hectic personal ordeals to wrap up, I finally have the time to sit down and write a post about what writing a book does to a person (that sounds bad, but really, it isn’t).

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To begin with, writing a book is time consuming. I think that’s pretty obvious. Most people understand the time commitment it takes to read a book, and writing a book is not much different (it just takes longer). If it was just the hours spent clicking away at the keyboard, I don’t think I could write this post. But that’s not it. Writing a book is more than just smacking some keys, hoping for the best, and returning back to those keys to mutilate the manuscript into something halfway decent. The book, the idea behind the book, is all consuming.

What do I mean by this? I’m sure you have all had an idea, one so persistent and itchy it couldn’t be scratched no matter how much you thought about it. When I’m writing a book, this is what happens. The characters, the scenes, the story, keeps playing out in my head over and over again. There is no good way to stop thinking about what will happen to the main character or the details of a particular scene or what is really motivating the side character that doesn’t seem all too fleshed out. As the book is in the process of being written, it is all I can think about. And while a good amount of the time consumption comes from writing, it also comes from thinking about the book.

Why am I able to stop and write this then if there is an itch I can’t scratch? Well, what I said above isn’t entirely accurate. There is one good way to stop all of this. Write. Writing is the only way the characters and scenes and book pass out of my head. Are they still there? Of course! But, they aren’t banging on the door, waiting for life to be breathed into them. Once the scenes and characters are on the page, they have that life and can leave their poor, distraught creator alone…at least for now. There are, however, always new book ideas, always new characters wanting to come out. And that’s fine. I love listening to them, seeing a scene change into something fantastic, and letting the process happen. The itch isn’t enough to start scratching again, but I know it will be soon enough. And when that time comes again, just remember to excuse any absence on this blog, because in the end, it’s for a good cause.

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