Paula’s brain hurts!
Some people think it’s easy to write a novel. They think you sit down at the computer or with your laptop or with pen and paper, and the words pour forth.
I can’t find an authoritative source for this statement, but here is one version of it: There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein and bleed. Substitute computer for typewriter and you have the modern version.
Maybe that is somewhat extreme, but I don’t know any writer who thinks writing is ‘easy’. Except, maybe, for one writer who claims she writes 8-10K words each evening – although I do wonder if that is physically possible (and if it is, what the quality of writing is like.)
Far more realistic, to my mind, is the comment by one writer: Writing is like giving yourself difficult homework every day of the year.
There may be times when the words DO flow, but far more often writing is a struggle – and requires your brain to work overtime. It might be a relatively simple thing, like trying to find the right word to convey the exact meaning you want. Or it can be (and often is) something more complex, like working out your characters’ inner emotions/goals/motivation. Several of my novels have had an element of intrigue – and sorting that out is rather like trying to wind slippery spaghetti around a fork, thinking you’ve succeeded and then realising half a dozen strands have slipped off the fork and onto your lap.
Thinking out all the twists and turns while you plot your story (or in my case, write the first draft) is hard work! It’s often mentally exhausting – so much so that your brain seems to ache as it goes around in circles. At times I find myself wondering why I do it. Why don’t I find something less taxing to do? The reason, of course, is the sense of achievement when the story is finally written, polished, and edited. It’s only too easy then to forget all the brainwork and exhaustion – until you start to write the next book!