How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Word…

Word Heart Black
Way back at the end of 2013 I posted a short piece celebrating finishing my second novel. It went something like this:

And the last line is finally on the page! The Architect’s Apprentice is finished and the bad guys are finally unmasked. Course, there are still questions, leaving plenty of scope for a follow up…

So, what now? On with the next one, I suppose. The trouble with writing on a regular basis is that I don’t really want to stop in case whatever talent I have disappears out the window. So, in a few days, when the dust has settled, and I have the title, then like a bus at the end of the lane, I’ll hop on til I reach my destination…

The new novel was ‘The Hounds of Hellerby Hall’ and I’m happy to say it was a fairly straightforward process that took me three months to reach what most folks would term the first draft. But how easy is it to jump into that next kettle of literary fish and simply keep going?

One of the things I used to worry about was how I was going to come up with another idea for a novel/story/article etc. In this case, as with much of my writing, I didn’t have a darn thing in my head except the title (which I’d lifted from a piece about a completely different set of characters). What concerned me most was this:

What if I take a break and then come back to writing to find there’s nothing there – no ideas, no inspiration, no nothing?

That question seemed important, but now I don’t worry about it. The answer (for me, at least) lies in a simple philosophy:

Don’t Stop Writing!

Well, okay, I know what you’re thinking – Hey, I’m a writer, I’ve just finished a mammoth project, I deserve a break. And that’s fine, but the way I see it is writers are like athletes – maybe not quite as fit, but in need of the same thing that keeps those guys and gals at the top of their game, running, jumping and swimming – exercise. And we get that exercise by doing what we do, pushing ourselves harder, honing our craft, developing our use of language. And if there’s a shortfall in the Inspiration Department? Keep writing anyway – sooner or later it’ll make sense.

So after I finished Hellerby Hall, I started the next one, and then the next one and so on. And those days when I don’t do very much work on one of my novels, I spend my time blogging, Tweeting, Scriggling and Hubbing and even if I’m not banging away for hours and hours writing stuff that’s mind-blowing, exciting or fascinating, I am writing. And that’s all I need to do.

And yes, of course sometimes I’d rather watch a movie, but come on – you don’t get to be a bestselling author if you don’t put the time in. Just sayin.

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