One of the secrets about writing a book that no one ever tells you is that it takes a long time. I admit I'd never considered this in my pre-writing days; I just read the book. Now, every time I pick up a book, I am amazed at the time that the author must have spent researching, let alone the time it would have taken to write the monster. I've been reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and I'm on the floor in admiration. These books are tomes. Tomes, I say, and chockfull of research that must have taken years. Yet, somehow, she is able to produce a new one every two years or so. Someone, please, give this woman an award.
I never expected to sit down and have a novel flow out of me like a river; I'm not Shakespeare. But why didn't anyone tell me how long it would take before I could look at my word-count total and not want to burst into tears of frustration? I try to take comfort by remembering the fable of the tortoise and the hare, but I suspect I'm a hare by nature. Learning to be satisfied with a slow and steady pace is a real lesson in patience; and not one I'm learning with joy in my heart.
Learning to be satisfied has never been something I've been great at. I don't want to do anything just okay, I want to do it well. This leads to me re-reading portions of my manuscript and, inevitably, to me re-writing large swathes. Trust me, this is the mother of all catch-22s. I often feel as if I'm taking three steps forward and then two steps back. Growl.
I admit I've chosen to write a murder mystery with several very complex motives and a large number of characters. I do love my story, but I do wish I could write faster. (Writing better would be nice as well.) I'm writing the type of book I like to read, so there is historical research involved (of two different time periods). It would be easier (maybe) if I was interested in writing a different type of mystery, but I'm just not. 'Write what you know' is what we're told, and I'm trying to do that.
Are there any other tortoises out there? Or, are you a lucky hare? I know that finish line is waiting out there somewhere. If you see it, can you tell me what it looks like?