Wow, I read this quote from Neil Gaiman and it hit me hard:
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
This hit me hard because I feel that’s where I’m at in my novel. I’m 25k words in, about a quarter done. The beginning has ended, and I’m wading into the middle of the story.
The characters have all now been set up and it’s time for them to set out on real adventures.
I have to dig into them, make them real. Each character is a little piece of me.
It exposes my inner fears, desires, and insecurities. I have to dig real deep to bring out those flaws and quirks to breathe life into my characters. It’s a scary process.
Writers usually base characters on people they know or people they think they know.
If you go people watching, you have a real, living human to interpret. They have their habits, mannerisms and speech patterns that make them a unique individual, even if they are a stranger. You can see that they are a complex human being like any of us.
We can take those pieces and put them together, but we can never know another person as deeply as we know ourselves, so we have to take those pieces and write about how we perceive and react to such complexities.
We get attached to our characters because we identify with them.
We feel their pain, their happiness, their frustrations. The hope and fear are that those feelings will be reflected on the page, and other people will be able to identify with my complexities.
It’s part of any artist’s journey to put yourself out into the world with fear in your heart as you wait for people to receive and react to your art. When the reaction is negative, it feels like people are not only invalidating your work but invalidating you and all the feelings and pieces of your soul you put into that work.
This novel is an exploration of my inner worlds, and whether or not it is received well, I think it’s still a win that I can accomplish such a daring project. Not only does it test my skills of grinding out a 100,000-word manuscript, but it tests my ability to stay connected to my writing and my creativity.
At this point, I don’t think I could have gotten this far without writing daily. Almost daily.
I miss a few days here and there, but for the most part, I’ve been writing, editing or outlining every day since Camp NaNoWriMo at the beginning of July. That’s almost every day for 2 1/2 months. I’ve never done such a thing.
Writing every day for NaNoWriMo last year was the most I’d ever written in such a short period, and I proved to myself I could do what I’d thought was impossible.
Now, I’ve proven to myself again that I’m capable of even more. More story, deeper characters, and more complex plots.
If you can tap into your creativity by interacting with it daily, despite your desire (or lack of desire) to write, you can do amazing things.