Oftentimes, the task of writing a novel can feel equal parts torturous and blissful. I would say that the latter bit carries more truth, since a majority of the time spent writing is torturous. It is torturous to try to sometimes pin certain characteristics down for a particular character, or write an engaging action sequence that isn’t too drawn out (but rather fluid). When you are taking notes down in your notebook about the mechanics of your steam-punk universe (in my case, the aptly named Chronosphere also defies the archaic notions of time and space, following a much more Einstein formula of the relationship between space and time) .
We all seem to envisage a writer’s typical day of being hardship free, as though the writer can just seat themselves at a typewriter (Why the typewriter? Nostalgic appeal?) and magically conjure a novel in a matter of minutes. I admit that there are such days, where the writing process seems extra fluid and the words do just magically manifest upon the page. Those days are elusive. Most of the time there is dissonance between the part of the mind that is made up of a swarming hive of your writing ideas, and then there is the other part of your mind that controls your mood and it is the mood that is the generator for your ideas. It is that potent serotonin that needs to fuel the writing generator in your mind, and it should help you make this fabulously imaginative world that swims in your subconscious take on a whole different form once it reaches the surface of your conscious mind.
On most days, the writing process is arduous, as though you are merely sitting idly, and waiting for the damn writing idea to reveal itself. You are waiting for that snag in the metaphorical fishing line of mind to allow you to slowly uncover that writing idea, which will expend all your stamina and time to slowly write out in the form that you’ll eventually read over after many careful revisions. This is how most of my writing days are, to be truthful, and it something that many writers feel abashed about talking about. It is that dreaded plateauing of mediocrity, and every platitude and every darn idiom in our society implicitly dictates that you are a failure, if not every one of your days is a sure success. I succumbed to this false notion time and time again, until I realized that this was the brutal reality of writing. Writing a novel has to be one of the hardest jobs because it is not something that rewards the writer with instant gratification. There is crippling financial set-backs and friends and family members that think the process should be more streamline and profitable. As a writer, you are at war with society’s twisted stigmas about the nature of the writer; you either fulfill the America dream of writing that “great America novel,” or you might as well face the truth that your intrinsic gift of writing and storytelling is a useless gift if it cannot earn you a mansion and a white-picket fence.
In Disney’s Frozen, there is the iconic musical number that rang true with the hearts and souls of writers everywhere. Of course, Let it Go speaks to a myriad number of different internal and external conflicts that are part of the fabric of our lives. But, Let it Go was this generation’s new Lady of Shallot, but Let it Go is not about the woebegone artist that cannot exist within society. Contrarily, Let it Go is about that tenuous balance between pathos and reality: How can we be passionate and fiery, as artists and writers, if the reality becomes such an encumbering set-back to realizing our dreams. How do we “let go” of the high-pole expectations of ourselves and others, without sacrificing our very livelihood and purpose of writing?
What have I learned in the course of three months, working on a novel that seems ever so elusive? Well, the honest answer to all the above points are not so exciting, as that whimsical Elsa GIF image above. Really, the truth that I have learned is a redundant one, and it is one that we nauseatingly see plastered on trite “Get-Well” cards. We are so tired of it that we paradoxically don’t ever truly take it to heart. That was my problem. The whole mystery of this idiom-Take it day, by day- is that it bores us to tears because of its deceptive simpleness. What do you mean, take it, day by day? Paradoxically, you really can only physically inhabit a day in real-time, but is the wondrous world of ever-ticking, ruminating minds that never can think linearly of only one day. Oh no, you are wracking your mind on what may happen hypothetically in the future, or thinking of things you wish you’ve never done in the past in hindsight. This monstrosity of the mind is a time-machine, and it is this time-machine mechanic of the mind that has given power to my story, Chronosphere-a novel dealing with the inexplicable interconnection of time (called synchronicity in Jungian terminology).
As I continue researching the lives of six infamous English writers and creating six future incarnations of those six distinct authorial personalities (who each inhabit six different parallel realities of London, England), I have accepted that I must realistically take each day, as it comes, in the course of working on what may become a 1,000 page epic. This book might never be released this year, or even the next, but the important thing to take away from the trials of beginning to work on a novel is that you must set goals only for one day and let the story take you to its inevitable end somewhere in the immediate future.
Every Friday, I will be divulging more secrets from the solitary world of a writer’s workshop. Here is a glimpse of three items that will be proving to be very beneficial help-mates for helping to continue structuring this novel!!
Want to learn more about Chronosphere–Book One of the Parallel London series( Tentative title for the series)?
Check out the following links below: