Project Summer: What to expect when you’re expecting.

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It’s a common analogy; your novel is your baby. You give birth, you raise it, you send it out into the world and hope it can stand on its own two feet long enough to make a living.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this analogy recently, because being eleven chapters into editing (and yes, that number hasn’t changed since yesterday) I’m procrastinating like crazy and so, I think about these things.

The life of a novel usually begins with a moment of blissful inspiration. However, inspiration on its own is not enough. In order for conception to occur, the inspiration must combine with determination, triggering enthusiasm which allows the formation of an idea. This idea will then implant in the lining of your brain, until you set pen to paper.

Setting pen to paper can be a lengthy process, and you may experience Writer’s Block, where you sit and hover the pen over a blank sheet of paper, but don’t actually get anything out. Don’t worry, false alarms like this are quite usual. Just go home, put your feet up, maybe read a book or watch some TV.  It’ll come eventually, though be warned, when it does, things can get messy; notes will be thrown everywhere, ink may be smeared on skin and surfaces. Pain is also quite normal; sore joints (particularly in the hands) and head pain (from too much pushing) are frequent complaints of all novelists.

Of course, once you finally get that pen going (or even that keyboard) you will hopefully fall hopelessly in love with your novel. Note its curious little characters, its wonderful setting and the way it’s story entwines with your plot. All things sure to make a writer coo. That is when it’s not keeping you up late at night, telling you it needs writing, or editing, or that chapter just needs reading one more time. But during the day, oh no, no! No writing will be done then. The book is brewing in the back of your mind,as you flick round facebook, twitter, tumblr, watch some more TV, and all the time you’re thinking, “OH NOW YOU’RE SLEEPING.” That is until you’re out shopping, or with friends, or at work, or in a lecture hall, or somewhere else where it is highly inappropriate to whip out a notepad and start scrawling away the action. Novels demand attention at the least appropriate of times.

When your novel reaches the editing stages, it will become a lot less cute and it will be very hard to love. You will read the same conversation fifteen times, you will tell it what message you want to get across, you will try to change its symbology. It will be a mind numbing up hill struggle and you will doubt your ability as a writer daily. Only when it’s nearing that polished gleam that means you’re ready to send it out into the realms of agents and publishers, will it be easy to love again, will you feel a little proud. And yes, it might come back with a rejection letter, but you’ll be able to fix it up and send it out again and again until it either gets and offer or you start working on a sibling.

What is the point of this blog?

The point is; my novel is an aggressive teenager and now I feel sorry for what I put my mother through. After all, she couldn’t just close the Word Document down and go get a cup of tea. Oh! Tea!

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