The Hardest Part About Writing A Novel

Hypothetical people who only exist in my head are constantly asking me, “Keith,what’s the hardest part of writing a Novel?” Well, HPWOEIMH, you’d think it’d be coming up with an interesting plot, or not repeating yourself with descriptive passages or even coming up with evocative but naturalistic dialogue. But you’d be wrong.

The hardest part of writing a novel is sitting down every day and writing. Meeting that quota of new words on the page, taking the time, every day to write a few hundred or thousand words further on into the story than you went yesterday. That’s the hard part. Because, honestly, as much as I enjoy writing and finding that transcendent moment where I’m not wrapped up in my skin and life but instead, living in the world of the story, getting there is not exactly like going tot he grocery store. You can’t just jaunt there on a whim. it takes work and more than anything else, dedication. You have to sit down and try when you’re not in the mood, when you’d rather go play Rock band or just watch a movie. Especially then.

And there are days when this is easier than it sounds. When you can’t wait to get to the keyboard because the words are coming out of your fingertips and you want to catch them before they get away. And then sometimes, the words don’t want to come at all and you have to sit there and strain and think and force yourself just to finish a sentence.

But–and this is the important part–you need to know when it’s not working just as much as when it is. Enjoy those days when the words are flowing easily and you can knock out 2000 words without trying. But also, you need to know hen the ell is dry and then just walk away for a day or two and come back at it fresh another time.

Which is the long way around saying that I was going to spend today trying to make up for the lousy writing week I’ve had but instead, I’m going to hop the Max and go see Patton Oswalt at Powell’s. The best way to re-energize the writing battery is to go look at books, read, relax and take the day off. Sometimes the hardest part of working is knowing when to do nothing.