Of late, I’ve had a somewhat difficult time committing words to paper (okay, fine, words to screen). There are many reasons for this. Insufficient world-building, insufficient characterization, laziness… trust me, there’s a lot of blame to go around.
When it comes to finding time to sit down and write, if I have something to write about, this is fairly easy to accomplish. Whilst in the middle of a novel, I have no trouble getting my butt in the chair, since I’ve achieved momentum. Writing a thousand words a day for four or five months? Easy. Doable. If anything, the long haul is where I excel.
But what about before I start a novel? For me, world-building cannot be done sitting in a chair. World-building happens almost by accident, when I’m out doing things, having conversations, watching television, readings the news, etc. The spark of an idea comes quickly, but then it takes a while for the world and characters to form around it. These worlds have to percolate for months-dare I say, years-before novel-writing can begin.
It would be easy to label it a discipline problem, but I don’t think that’s it.
I can try to force myself to write before the pieces are in place, but I never get very far. I started writing my current novel back in the spring, then again in summer, and then again last week. Lots of false starts. I say, “I just can’t get going.” And people rightfully reply, “It’s because you don’t know your world/characters well enough.”
Fair enough. But just like in the real world, where it takes months and years to get to know my fellow human beings, it can take a long and unpredictable period of time for all the right world- and character-building pieces to fall into place. And, despite how I’ve described it, this isn’t a passive process. It’s active, requiring constant thought, rumination, deliberation… cogitation…
It’s possible that I’m just slow, that other people get through this conceptual period a lot more quickly than I do. Maybe this is just a symptom of not being a “discovery” writer. I’m bursting with premises, but slow conceptualization is the bottleneck that keeps me from becoming prolific.
I so badly want to be prolific.
Anyone else in the same boat, or is it just me?