The Smashwords Summer (Winter in the Southern Hemisphere) Sale is over, the party is dying down and the world has a glut of indie books to chew through. There’s that distinct feel of melancholy in the air, the bartender is flicking the lights and the cold air from outside is waiting for you to give it a cuddle.
What now? What else? It’s back to writing, back to creativity, back to the grind. Sounds like a drudge, doesn’t it. In a way, it is. It’s laborious. There’s no fruit until the end. You can see the work coming together, like walking past a building site every day and noting the different stages, but that house ain’t a house until the guy turns the key in the door for the last time and hands them over to the agent.
That’s too depressing. What’s more, its far from the truth.
Writing is a slog, no denying it, but that’s not all there is to it. Consider the building analogy – it’s as good as any I can think of at the moment. The site is cleared, the rubble is removed and all that’s left is that blank area of dirt and patchy grass waiting for your attentions. At this point, you’re scratching your chin, sucking on the end of your digital pen, wondering how to start.
And then you do. You write. You type. You put words together and sketch out a bit of a plan. No, no, that’s not right. Three bedrooms, one upstairs. That’ll require better foundations. Little by little the fuzzy blur of the end result coalesces into something tangible, something you can work toward.
With the lines marked out, the foundations get dug and poured. As soon as they are solid, you find yourself walking around the floor, imagining the walls, the decor. There’s a sense of happiness in the anticipation of what’s to come. You see, at this point, you’re not preoccupied with the lengthy nights that are looming. You know full well what they’ll be like, yet there’s a sense of duty that comes with having everything cut out and ready to go.
You’re committed. You’re anxious to get started. That first wall that goes up, that first vertical delineation that says, “I have now begun!” is, believe it or not, a very satisfying moment. It’s only bare-bones, a mere truss of wood sticking up in the air, but it’s real and it’s solid and it’s just one of the many thrills you get.
This is how it goes as you write: You write some more, you erect another wall, you complete a room, your revisit the rooms and add the bricks and plaster, then you paint and decorate and, at each stage, you revel that what you’re doing is getting you closer to the goal. The things you make converge to that ideal image in your head.
The point is this: When you’re heading down the road of creating something, don’t focus on how hard it is, or how long it’s going to take, or how many times you’ll need to revisit pages. Focus instead on how much you’ve achieved, on how close you’re getting to the end product! The book didn’t exist before you thought of it and now it’s being brought out of the abstraction of your mind and made manifest in a physical form. That’s pretty cool, right?
It is cool. Writing is cool. It’s hard, it’s a slog, but it’s fun. Keep it fun, keep looking at your progress, keep your eyes on the end goal and you won’t mind the drudgery. This post, really, shouldn’t be called ‘The Grind’, it should be called, ‘The Adventure’, because that’s exactly what writing is.