By Guest Blogger Jennifer Harlow
Today I began work on my tenth (holy crap!) book, the second in The Galilee Falls Trilogy (the first is now available in the Kindle Store). Really, I started work on this one years ago on many a sleepless night. The main characters, the basic story arcs - they've been locked away in my brain for eons, and now it's time to finally put pen to paper and bring my imaginary friends to life.
I've been staring at a blank page for an hour.
I know exactly how it begins. I have the scene playing in my brain but I just can't pick up the pen. I hate this day. It's the hardest day of the project. The start of countless hours, months of diligent work start TODAY. And it is hard work, damn hard. I was once asked why I wanted to be a writer.The pay's crap, there's no guarantee the work will be seen (this one's already been sold so it probably will), and on average it takes six months to get a complete manuscript, and that's before the trillion edits it'll need. The truth is, for me at least, I can't NOT write. I wish I was meant to be a doctor or psychologist or even a stay at home Mom, but since I was a child I've always known I was meant to be a writer. And selling six books before age thirty is a good guidepost that I was right. And most days I love it. I love the inception, the research (and there's a lot for this one), the character sketches, even later the editing. I just don't like today.
Maybe it has to do with physics. Yes, I'll blame Sir Isaac Newton and his first law: "An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it." It all comes down to drive. I've always been a very driven person but as I get older I get...well...lazier. It gets harder and harder to pull myself away from cult classic movies and BBC America. I can do research and sketches while watching those but not when I really need to concentrate. I have to sit at my desk or the library 8+ hours a day for months with only music for company. But really, that's not it. Really, it's fear.
A hundred horrible thoughts race through my mind as I'm sitting down on this day. What if I can't pull this off? What if my characters are unlikable? What if I can't pull of the voice? What if it's just total and utter crap? What if I'm not good enough to tell this story? I'm usually a damn confident person. Just not today. But I will solider on because this is important. (And I have a hard deadline.) I will pick up that pen, I will write that first word. Then the next, then the next 80,000 and when I see all my hard work sitting in a bookstore and when I receive lovely e-mails from people who enjoy my book, today will be nothing but a distant memory.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to defy Newton's law.
Jennifer Harlow spent her restless childhood fighting with her three brothers and scaring the heck out of herself with horror movies and books. She grew up to earn a degree at the University of Virginia which she put to use as a radio DJ, crisis hotline volunteer, bookseller, lab assistant, wedding coordinator, and government investigator. Currently she calls Northern Virginia home but that restless itch is ever present. In her free time, she continues to scare the beejepers out of herself watching scary movies and opening her credit card bills. She is the author of the Amazon best-selling F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad and Midnight Magic Mystery series. For the soundtrack to her books and other goodies visit her at www.jenniferharlowbooks.com
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