Again and again it strikes me that non-writers just don’t understand all that is involved in being a writer… writing books This thought came to me last month, when a friend kept asking, whether I had already finished writing my latest book. The questions started some two weeks in. Now, assuming I write as Stephen King advises based on his own work style and ethic, two thousand words a day, then I’d have written 2,000 x 14 = 28,000 words. But 28k words do not make a book… a novelette perhaps… but not a novel.
For a man, whose day job is writing, and more than likely has someone else do the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and multiple other things that occupy many a normal person’s day, I suppose, 2,000 words is easily reachable. And I can do it, too. There are times I can easily do lots more. But it is always at a cost of other things… except for the absolute necessary (like the care of my pets), other things around the house then just have to wait until another day.
How many real writers have the luxury to sit down at the computer to bang out 2,000 words at the speed of lightning, and in one go, and then get dolled up to go out for lunch or go shopping, or some other social pursuits? Only in totally unrealistic TV shows, like Murder She Wrote! Mind you, years ago I used to enjoy that show, but each time I used to wonder “How and when does she ever get any writing done?” Because serious writing is about locking yourself up and away, and not answering the phone or the doorbell, and closing out the world.
Writing is not solely about sitting at that computer, banging out words. There is so much else and more involved. Our entire days are taken over thinking about plots and plans. We wake up with these, and go to bed with them. And in between the story and the characters are vying for our constant attention. Nagging us into submission, and obedience. “Thou shalt write!” And once we’ve obeyed this persistent call, and, as it were, transferred their story from our minsd to black on white, their satisfaction is short lived. Characters do take over, and they rule our lives… relentlessly. They even work their way into our dreams. Writers understand all this. In varying degrees, all have to deal with it.
So, it’s not only the planning and plotting, but research, too. I try my utmost to bring an as realistic world to my readers as is possible. Of course I create fictive people, situations, towns and villages, and streets, but I have to make sure that beyond that fictive part, it is based on reality. In my current work in progress, MMM (the title will be revealed in due course…), I’ve had to spent quite a bit of time on google maps and on Rightmove. uk to get the feel of the Fort William area (Scottish Highlands), and the properties there. On google maps I travelled along a road at the foot of Ben Nevis… I needed to get the feel of the area. It had to be remote, wild… the right place for a crime. And I needed to find out where hotels lay… what the town looks like… the shops and pubs there… And it is the same for every other book.
But… it is not only about writing, plotting/planning and research, but also contact with friends/followers on Facebook, building up my Facebook author’s page, maintaining contact on Twitter, and trying to spend time on building up this blog (and this poor blog has lain a bit neglected… sorry). There is so much more I should and could do, but I am not a particularly fast typist (never was), and by the end of the day… well, I’m out of steam (LOL!).
And the floor then still needs hoovering, and the dishes washing… oh, and the laundry needs to be hung up to dry…
Yes, 2,000 words a day are easy peasy… but…