Persistence = Pages

For about the first month after I had started my first novel, the first four chapters just sat there. I enjoyed telling my (non-writer) friends that I had been working on my book, and being able to impress them by having thirty pages done. However, deep inside my inner consciousness, I knew I was still procrastinating. Finally, I began to think about the scope of the story as a whole, and to build confidence in the characters and plot lines I was developing–the number of chapters left to write didn’t scare me, but instead became exciting building blocks to construct my story. This motivation, coupled with a solid dedication to writing one chapter a day (and sometimes more), during the month of February was the turning point for my book–a month had elapsed and I went from being marginally happy to tell my friends I had 25 pages done, to being ecstatic to report I had 25,000 words completed! Trust me, there were some days where forcing myself to write was the hardest struggle, and the work I produced felt like absolute garbage, but then, looking back at those pages, the grim mood at the time of writing does not show through in the voice of the work itself. Examples such as this are just one of the many facets of how I have been gaining confidence as a writer; persistence not only means the pages add up, but your confidence as a writer is built up as well. With that being said, I am off to write the second chapter of my second novel, cheers!

Writer’s Block, Breakups, and Finally Writing My First Novel

All my life, there has been a little voice in the back of my¬† head tell me “Someday, Elise, you will write a book.” It was persistent, and confident, and good at procrastinating my ambition far off into the distant future. After college I will write, I said to myself. Shortly after college graduation, on a hazy, hot Kansas summer day, the idea for my first book floated into my mind like some sort of heat-induced hallucination of creativity. However, an acute case of writer’s block coupled with the busyness of adjusting to post-graduate life hindered the story from going anywhere. That was in 2012–fast forward over two tumultuous years where the few meager attempts to start my book were buried under snowballing personal problems. Finally, at the end of 2014, one week before Christmas, I wrote an introductory chapter which I was happy with–more than happy with. I knew then and there that what I had written was the end of my two and a half years of writer’s block. Ecstasy was shortly replaced with severe angst when, mere days later, my boyfriend of the time broke up with me. It was a devastating blow which sent both my psyche and my writing into a nearly month-long slump. However, one night I went back and read the first chapter I had so gleefully scrawled on a yellow legal pad, and I felt a fresh thrill at how right it sounded. Slowly but surely, I began working on my novel. The chapters came slowly at first, but as January came to a close, February then began to rapidly slip by as I was writing one or two chapters a day. It began to feel so natural–the words had been there for so long, and it felt indescribable to finally become confident and come into my own as a writer. On March 27, almost exactly three months after that terrible break up, I finished my first novel, Capacitance, and the voice in my head now can speak indulgently in the past tense–“I have written a book.” Realizing the first big step of accomplishing a lifelong dream is a surreal feeling, which still hasn’t fully settled in for me yet. As I now begin the daunting task of querying agents, practicing my pitch, and (most challenging of all) continuing to write the next novel in the trilogy, I look forward to sharing my experiences here on A Constant Chiaroscuro.