This novel had been in the back of my mind for years. Bits and pieces of ideas were stashed on PCs, to be retrieved and saved on the latest newer PC, and so on. We all think we will write a book at some point, don’t we?
A little more than a year ago, though, in one of those small coincidences that pepper life, I found myself thinking on the lyrics in a certain pop song. Why then, and not a hundred plays before? Who knows?
Suddenly I was drawn to the “recent past.” By education, I’m also an historian and a political scientist. The notion of pulling together a tale rooted in history, but built around fictitious characters, their lives lapping around the events, the styles and the tech of that time, began to jell more clearly in my mind.
Having decided I would finally to try to compose a book, the next thing I did was what anyone must do to write anything: I just started writing. We’ve all heard how frightening a “blank page” is. The solution? Fill it up. And just keep going. It makes not a wit of difference if you delete much of it later. Just write.
Suddenly, I had a full chapter (but not the first one – the book “started” a few chapters in), and then another, and another. Within days, I found I was now well and truly moving ahead. “Okay, friends,” I more than once asked myself as I started a writing session, “what are we going to do today?”
I wrote regularly, setting a goal of 3-5 decent pages daily. I did my best to stick to that goal.
Eventually, I had to tell my wife what I was up to. (I waited until it looked like I would actually have a finished book.) She was stunned, but was fully supportive of the effort. If you have a spouse/ partner in life, don’t even think of writing if they are not fully on board, backing you.