One of the things I wanted to do this year was to write a manuscript for a novel.
I haven't gotten very far.
Oh, I have written quite a lot. But it's not up to par. And it's not well thought-out. It's not insightful or original. Yet.
I love my blog. It has helped me to churn ideas, find my own style, play with words and connect with an audience. But I think it has made me accustomed to jumping from topic to topic, riding inspiration in fleeting waves, and writing in short bursts. Quite clearly, there is a distinction between putting together a blog and a long-term project like a novel.
To write a novel, you need to focus. To go to a deep place, with only yourself for company, and stay there long stretches of time. You need to maintain a steady flow of inspiration. Most importantly, you have to hole up inside that inspiration, creating a bubble around you, not allowing the outside world burst it with interruptions or distractions. The bubble is built with dedication. And love. Haruki Murakami explains the process far more eloquently than I:
I have to pound the rock with a chisel and dig a deep hole before I can locate the source of creativity... The whole process – sitting at your desk, focusing your mind like a laser beam, imagining something out of a blank horizon, creating a story, selecting the right words, one by one, keeping the whole flow of the story on track – requires far more energy, over a long period, than most people ever imagine.
Additionally, I love the advice Louisa Deasey, author of the delightful memoir Love and Other U-Turns, gave Sarah Wilson:
Write the book that pulls you out of bed every night like a secret friend, waiting to be met.
Isn't that lovely?
This photograph was taken by Amy F. Hughes. You can find her photostream here.