I am particular in how I write. I’m sure plenty of other authors can say the same. Like many other creative outlets, some people can simply breeze through several works at once with no end to their stream-of-consciousness. For others, like myself, the slightest distraction takes us out of our Imagination Bunker and resets all desire for progress.
When I write, I like it to be silent. This strikes even myself as a bit odd since so many of my ideas for stories are rooted in music. However, the actual process of writing is very difficult for me with things droning on in the background. Music, TV, that pesky internet thing (like WordPress, for example)… anything can pull me out of the “zone” and keep words from making it onto the paper.
As such, I’ve spent a lot of time at my university library. I forgot how much I love school libraries. They’re quiet, like many libraries, but there’s something uniquely striking about a school library in particular. The books are old, weird bits of esoteric knowledge exist on the shelves that won’t be found in a normal bookstore, and they’re open late so that the strange tranquility of the evening can push work forward. Even though the school I’ll be attending isn’t necessarily the largest or most prestigious, the library has been a boon towards getting this next book done. I think I’ve been visiting more the past couple of weeks than I did the past 30 years of living here combined.
It is easier, of course, when you’re over the hump. Other writers know what I’m talking about when I mention this. It’s something most writers will find at some point. Unless you’re in one of Stephen King’s infamous mid-80’s blackout benders where you get books done but don’t remember writing it in three days, writing a novel is very much a marathon with a very distinct lull right in the middle. No amount of plotting and determination can really seem to erase that wall that appears somewhere between 40k and 60k words and traps the writer in a thick bog. You start to wonder second-guess what you’ve written, plot devices are harder to come by, and the physical act of writing is a chore.
Thankfully, persistence will win out eventually for the dedicated. So it has with Desert Siren. I recently passed that 61k word mark, and it was not unlike landing safe and sound after flying through a Brazilian rainstorm. The end is in sight, all of the really fun bits that come with a book’s climax are eager to free themselves from my head, and the process of getting the book ready for edits and publishing can begin to manifest.
I’ll still be at the library a lot to get through these final 20k words or so. And there are about five more books swimming through my head at any time. It’s nice to still be on track for that Summer release, though, and to cut my time on finishing this book down by almost half of what The Sky Thief took.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be near the quietest, darkest shelves in the back of the third floor