Writing a book is a bit like building a good relationship.
And by that I mean that it requires a lot of dedication, passion, hard work and, on occasion, tears.
In the beginning you get a flash of inspiration. Who knows where it comes from, but it's a like looking up from the newspaper in a coffee shop and seeing a pretty girl smiling at you from across the room. She winks at you and it's obvious she's interested; at that point you have two choices. You can get up and walk out of the shop, or you can go talk to her. Now if you, as a writer, decide to take that idea out for a spin, that's when everything changes.
Eventually that story is all you can think of. Every time you have a spare moment you find yourself considering the plot and the characters, both good and bad, and considering every little detail to find a clue about where the story should go next. You find that you are spending more time with this potential book than you are with your friends or family and when you are with them it's the only thing you can talk about. They might be a bit worried about you, they might think you are moving a little fast, maybe you should slow down and eat something, but you can't be bothered to listen to their advice. You have this great idea!
Then, when things are starting to get more serious, you will find yourself unable to sleep at night, worrying why the story isn't going where you want it too, hoping that your characters are happy, and praying you can resolve that big plot hole from the 2nd chapter. The farther into the writing you get, the worse the flaws in your book seem. You don't know if you can overcome your differences with the book, because, really, this stupid novel has just started to get on your last nerve. Maybe you would be better off alone, maybe it just isn't the right time to be getting involved in something so serious, maybe this novel just isn't the one for you.
I'm sorry; I did say a "good" relationship did I not? This is starting to look a little bit dysfunctional. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as author/novel counseling, which is a crying shame. Someone would make a lot of money off that little business venture.
It's not long before you are hovering over the delete key, piling your notebooks by the trash or holding a sledgehammer over your typewriter. You're chewing your nails and wondering if you really want to end this. That's when the epiphany (hopefully) happens. You realize that anything worth having is also worth the hard work.
Then there is the tearful reunion, apologies are made on both sides (well, usually just on your side as far as novels go, if your novel is apologizing to you...you may have bigger problems) and you dust off your notes and get back to work.
Now I'm not saying that things will be easy after that. The only happy ending you are likely to get is the one typed at the end of the final page, because…well, life isn't a novel. Most people prefer to think that authors wake up one day with an idea and the next week the book is on its way to the publisher. Then again, a lot of people like to think that true love means you will never get angry with each other and you'll never have a fight. Nothing is ever that simple.
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