Thursday, August 29, 2013

Writing a Book in Six Weeks... What!?

So... I wrote this book.
There was all this research and painful hours spent detailing and developing and editing...
Four drafts later, I was ready to send it in to my publisher.
And after pushing send, my brain... was fried.
Then again, from start to finish, I wrote the book in six weeks.
Six weeks.
Six weeks?!
Six...
How? 
I think back and wonder, how in the world did I do it? What state of mind did I enter into in order to write such a complicated book? What was I thinking?!
To those questions, I don't have great answers. The words needed to come out, and having a hard deadline was a definitive push, plus extra hours in my days to work through what I needed to. I was focused, and thinking only of each day's goal (2000-3000 words), because to think of the whole thing was too daunting. I just was doing.
But there's one question I can answer firmly.
Should you write a book in six weeks?
Absolutely not.
Besides the mental exhaustion, there's the complete isolation from anything resembling a social life, and a minimization of contact with even good friends and family. There's intense back and neck pain. There's a slight disassociation from reality, as if leaving the world you're writing jerks you into some strange dimension, rather than the one you normally live in. You come back with your mind full of philosophical questions about the nature of society and the world, about human nature and what it means to experience life. You wander down paths in your mind that lead you deeper into yourself. You struggle to speak, and only the need to go out and work (if you have another job, as most writers do) keeps you interacting on any level at all. Towards the end, even that begins to fade away as you try and serve your story with every ounce of ability and storytelling within you.
And then you press send, and the publisher takes it away from you, and you have to begin to emerge.
There are other writing projects, other ideas, other ways to live away from the words, like remembering friends and family and work.
But you're completely guttered out.
And at the end, you're sitting alone with no one to celebrate.
No, don't write a book in six weeks. There's too much living to do to lose yourself so fully into something that will take months to reward you in any way (in terms of reader responses). And then, of course, there's the forced separation from the other ideas you have, other stories you might have lost in the quest to get this single one complete. Because when you push that send button, the last thing you want to do is start something new.
It took me over a month to get to this blog. Over a month for me to look at the computer and feel the tingling urge in my hands to start writing.
Of course it came back. The ideas and images once again tantalize and tempt. That's why writers write.
But writing a book in six weeks is very hard.
However, if you choose to do so anyway, do it with focus, concentration, and sincere dedication. 
You owe it to your readers and the words and the characters in your story to always give your utmost... just remember not to lose yourself completely along the way. Nor all the other wonderful people that making writing and publishing a book possible.
Six weeks.
Six weeks?!
Yes.

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