I used to have this idea that writing would get easier, that somehow, each subsequent novel would flow a little faster, and I’d know exactly what to do. Imagine my disappointment when that fantasy got demolished.
I’m drafting a new novel, my fifth to date, and while I have no doubt that my writing has improved a great deal since my first attempts, the process, apparently, does get any easier. In fact, in some ways it’s more frustrating, if only because I feel it should be easier, and also because I’ve forgotten the struggles I went through with my earlier novels. I’ve forgotten how I felt when I didn’t know what was to come next, or when I discovered a flaw that seemed beyond fixing, and I’ve forgotten how I overcame those struggles and made it all work.
Now when I get stuck I think, I don’t remember this. I didn’t get stuck like this before. And then I start to hyperventilate because, oh $#*!, I’ve caught a disease. I’ve lost my touch. Writer’s block is real!
And then my husband rolls his eyes and says, “I really should have recorded all your whine session when you were writing all those other books.” And I calm down a little, because I know he is right. I do remember that I had complete meltdowns.
Maybe the struggle is different with each book. Maybe some books, like some children, really are more difficult/complicated than other, but if I’ve gained anything writing the past four novels, it’s faith in the creative process. Something will come. You don’t always have control over when or what, but something always comes.
So basically, it doesn’t get easier, but at least I know what to expect, at least in terms of my emotional roller-coaster. And so does my husband. He’s getting really good at those pep talks.