It’s been a while since I last wrote.
One year ago, I was eagerly anticipating the release of my first novel, Hear No Evil. It’s hard to believe I now have two books published and a third one on the way! So if you’ve wondered what happened to my blog (I hope you’ve missed me!), it’s because I needed to concentrate on writing the novels.
It’s been quite a learning experience. As a new, and now multi-published author, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learned. These may not necessarily be true of all writers since we all function and practice our craft differently. But they are true for me.
1. I do not want to write another series. I loved my characters in the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series and I hate to give them up. But by the third book, I struggled for new ways to present the camp experience. I prefer variety, and hope to focus now on stand alone books.
2. If I ever do write another series, I will not submit the proposal until I have at least the first two books completed. I found it very difficult to write one book while launching and promoting another. A writer is much like an actor who must “get into” the character and the story. Maybe that would come easier with practice but I’d rather focus on either writing or promoting.
3. I need time to extricate myself from one story before starting another. This goes back to the idea of getting into the story. The characters and events become so real to an author after living with them for several months and digging deep into their personalities and problems. After I finished Speak No Evil, I found it took a couple months to distance myself from those characters before I could fully devote myself to the next story.
4. Deadlines can stifle my creativity. Another reason I don’t want to do a series again. The closer the deadline approaches, the more worried I become about meeting it and the more my brain freezes and refuses to think new creative thoughts.
5. Physical exercise stimulates creative thinking. My best ideas came during early morning jogs. If I had a specific problem to work out, I’d think about it while jogging and after about 30 minutes, a new idea would present itself that usually solved the problem. Mind you, my jogging is barely more than a fast walk, but it’s enough to get the oxygen flowing to the brain. I actually looked forward to those early mornings, anticipating a surprise.
6. Writing all day is not good for my health and body. My last book, which has just been submitted to my editor, did not come easy. My original story idea fell through, and it wasn’t until 3 months before the deadline that another workable idea presented itself. I am not a fast writer, so three months to write a book I was proud of terrified me. I spent too many long days in the chair, as evidenced by weight gain and fitness loss. I love writing, but not to the detriment of my health. My ideal writing day would be 2-4 hours in the morning. I do like to have a life beyond writing.
7. The characters who are the most fun to write about are the bad guys. The bullies, the ones with problems and bad behavior. The story I just finished writing stars a character who is a great kid. He’s blind, but he’s confident and takes everything in stride. I loved him in the first two books and couldn’t wait to write his story. Having now struggled through three months to finish his story, let me just say he is no longer my favorite character.
Now that I’ve finished my contracted books, I look forward to spending 3-6 months reading all the books I didn’t have time to read while I was writing. Hubby and I will be making a major move to another city in the next few months. And I have a few more story ideas percolating. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
What lesson have you learned from an experience you had?