Last summer, we spent a week at a friend’s family cabin up north near the tip of the lower peninsula of Michigan, a paradise of blue skies and lazy lake-going days in July. While there I was so inspired that I wrote 10,000 words, the first part of my second Part of novel #1, which I followed up by finishing off with another 20,000 words in the following few weeks. By the end of the year, I had the third Part of that novel written, another 25,000 words. My rough draft of my first novel was finished. Holy smokes! All it took was a week of early mornings by the lake.
This last weekend, we went up to that same magical cabin for a long weekend, and I told myself I wasn’t going to work. Four days including travel is not enough time to relax fully… except by the lake, it was. On morning number 3, I woke up with the sunrise and realized I was thinking about things in terms of “this happened at sunrise” instead of “this happened at 6 am” and decided to write down some impressions of life by the lake, since novel #2 is going to be set by Lake Michigan. Suddenly, I was filling in plot holes in my outline for novel #2 that had me stuck for months. By the end of the morning, I had written summaries of practically every scene in the book. Holy smokes again!
But beyond telling me that I need water nearby to do my quickest work, what this experience is really telling me is that I don’t need to get stuck in this idea that novel #2 is going to take X number of months to complete. It may seem stuck for a while and then just come out on the page. I’m nearly done polishing novel #1 to send out to agents, and I think part of me has been afraid that I’m being too impatient to get this career going and that this could result in sloppy work. But taking longer to write a novel doesn’t necessarily make it better. Some of the greats’ most inspiring works were written in a flurry just like this. So, somehow I need to hone my sense of quality for my own writing and divorce that from the idea of taking the proper amount of time to write novels. I think I’m almost ready to start writing the rough draft of novel #2, so I’ll be back to let you know how this idea plays out soon… unless I get stuck again.