As I sit at the computer, taking a break from taking down Christmas decorations, I feel a draft on my legs. The thermometer reads 19 degrees outdoors and 69 degrees indoors. The sky looms overcast, gray and dreary. A light coat of snow covers the ground, showing some patches of brown grass in areas where the snow has melted. How I long for the sun.
I should work on my novel, but instead I am following the directions of the “Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog” instructions and writing a new post. That is the problem with working on a novel. I am either easily distracted or, the polar opposite, totally engrossed in my writing.
I tend to write short stories so a novel is a huge undertaking for me. Short stories are easy because I can cover a topic and be done with it. Research is one of my favorite parts of short stories and articles. I read about the topic, then write up a few pages and am finished, ready to move on to the next project. A novel is a long-term commitment. Sometimes I want to divorce my novel.
I began my novel after a friend committed suicide. I started writing to help me cope with the grief and anger I felt. My friend had been my spiritual mentor in college. How could someone who taught me so much about life and joy take his own life? As I fictionalized the book, it became fun and the story was “writing itself” for a while. (I have heard other authors explain this phenomenon, but I never felt it myself.) It was very exhilarating. Then it stopped. Writing became tedious. I put my half-written novel away.
Now, a year later, I have it out again. I haven’t done much with it yet. The novel is hibernating in my computer and a hard copy lies dormant in a notebook waiting to be edited and expanded. I open it up and look at it once in a while, then decide I need to put Christmas decorations away, straighten up the papers on my desk, go through my old files, sharpen the pencils as I throw out old inkless pens, and write a blog post.
I have a love-hate relationship with writing. When I am “on a roll,” I love to write. It is exciting and time flies by. When I am stuck, it is like this day–bleak, cold, heartless, stark and cruel, making me long for the sun.