When I started writing in week one I knew there would come a day when my enthusiasm will eventually die, just like I know that after a high comes the terrible low. That is why I was so determined to write more than the average amount of words required to finish my novel on time. Well, that day came during week three, but truth be told it was more like days. I got to know the characters and they had no surprises left to reveal. The story moved forward but it happened slowly. Writing was not swimming in the sweet waters of inspiration anymore but more like fighting the currents while trying to catch fish with my bare hands. It got difficult. Just the thought that I had to sit down and fill the screen with words made me nervous. Suddenly, there were more interesting things to do, like checking email and Twitter and see what photos my Facebook friends had posted since last time I checked which was ten minutes ago. And time began to slip away, which made me even more aware of how much more work I had left to do.
Word races became a necessary routine. I showed up at the 10 p.m. sessions and began to type away. It felt great to work knowing that other people were doing the exact same thing at the same time. I even raced by myself one night when no one else was around on Skype. It did me good.
And even though most of these times I just showed up and began to type without the slightest idea of where I was going, one night I managed to write a scene that scared me so badly I had trouble going to sleep and kept looking at the bedroom door and imagining things. I have no idea how that scene got there but it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole story.
In an attempt to get more ideas I looked back on what I had written. And there, on printed pages I had typed just a few days ago was an entire section I had just written. That made me panic, so I put the pages away in a drawer and vowed not to look at them again until all this was over.
Read, read, read, and I say it three times just to show how important this is for me. From Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (borrowed from a friend) to The House of Doctor Dee by Peter Ackroyd (picked up at a second hand book sale), to blogs and online newspapers. Without reading it would be difficult to write. I look for inspiration, for ideas that can help me dislodge that big boulder which stands in the way of my story.
I took up running again, something I’ve been doing on and off for years. But this year something was different, because my determination to write 50k by the end of the month had began to seep into other aspects of my life. This time I did not stop when I felt like I had no air. I slowed down a bit and kept going. All I could see was someone holding a big banner with 50,000 written in big red letters on it. And I pushed on and on and did not stop for 30 minutes. It may not be a lot for many people but it was something I hadn’t done in years and felt so good I almost cried.
The story is never far from my mind. I knew how to start it and the characters that would play a crucial role in the story, but now that the end is getting closer, things got a little murky. I have no idea how to end it so I keep writing. I began to add more details and I’m constantly thinking of new ways to make the story more gripping. I want to write the kind of book that would make readers say I didn’t see that coming, and turn the next page and the one after that because they just have to see what happens next. Will the woman with a secret get her wish? Will she have to die for it in the end? Is there hope at the end of it all, maybe a happily ever after, or will everything end in a bloodbath? I guess I’ll have to keep typing to find out.