Last week I started writing my third novel. It seemed a long time since I sat to write anything new and I was feeling quite nervous at the thought of facing a blank page.
Once I wrenched myself away from Twitter, stopped browsing Amazon and had selected some music to listen to on iTunes I couldn’t put it off any longer. My fingers hovered over the keyboard, I took a deep breath, and to my enormous relief the words began to flow.
I’m a fast typist, but not a quick writer. I can’t help tinkering as I go, spending too much time editing scenes that I know most likely won’t make the final cut. By the end of the first day I had a word count of around 1000 words which, when I’m writing my way into the story, getting to know the characters, I’m quite happy with, but more important than my word count was the fact I had enjoyed it.
‘I LOVE this part of writing.’ I told my husband later as we sipped wine and discussed our days. ‘The beginning of a brand new story, not knowing which direction the plot will lead me in. It’s all so exciting.’
‘I love this part too,’ said my husband.
‘Why is that?’ I was puzzled as he doesn’t write and doesn’t read my novels until they are finished.
‘It’s the calm before the storm,’ he said. ‘The bit before all the tears. The happiness before the ‘I can’t think of a middle,’ the ‘My book is so boring no-one will EVER read it,’ the ‘I’m NEVER going to be able to finish it because I’m not a proper writer,’ but if we can ride that out we get to the end, which you love, then you hate, then you change, then you love again, and then you hate, and then you change…’.
‘Umm I may have found The Gift challenging in the middle, but I’m sure I didn’t with The Sister.’
‘Yes you did, Mum.’ My son chipped in. ‘And you said after The Sister was No.1 you wouldn’t doubt yourself again and then you were exactly the same writing The Gift, and when that hit No.1 you said you wouldn’t doubt yourself with the next book, but you will.’
‘It’s your process,’ my husband said. ‘But this time, if you can relax a little, and have faith that’s the way you work, you might find you enjoy the middle, and we might get through less tissues, and less bottles of wine.’
So for this book, when I get to the middle, I’m going to have faith in the process, or at least when I find myself crying into a large glass of wine at the end of the day I can read this blog post and remind myself that it is completely normal. My normal anyway.