The first rush
Every author knows what I’m talking about.
When the idea for a story has presented itself. When you have outlined it (if you do that), when you start to write it. When you have finished the first 20-30 pages of it. That is, by far, the best part of writing a novel. The first rush. When there are no limits as to how good the novel can get.
I always get that feeling when I start to work on a novel. You have this image in your head on how things should look, although the details might not be clear to you yet. You just feel them. And you think that this might be The One. This might be the one story that’s perfect, that will really stand out, that you’ll always be remembered for. You think that nothing can go wrong.
Sadly, it is all an illusion.
After a while the problems appear. Things doesn’t add up. The character you first imagined to be good, all of a sudden he turns out to be bad. The plot devices you have created, somehow you just don’t know what to do with them. And the twist? There has to be a twist in the end, doesn’t it?
Of course it does.
Then the story gets to you. It gets to your sleep, it gets to your mood. You start to think that you won’t be able to land this one. You’re no good. You have to start all over again. There goes your income for the next year. What shall you do then? Should you try to get a job? A real one?
A norwegian author once said; «Every author should be married. But no one should be married to an author». We tend to get a bit distant when we write, don’t we. For me, it becomes almost like an obsession. I think about the story constantly, even when I’m not hovering over my computer, pulling out the hairs on the top of my head (if you have seen the top of my head, you know there’s not much left up there). Nothing is more important than finishing the story.
I get unhappy. I get depressed. I develop severe anxieties. It’s like painting this huge wall. I want to get to the end, and I want it to look good. I want it to shine. And eventually, I get there. Sometimes I don’t know how, but I get there. And the most beautiful thing in the world for an author, is to see the end product. The actual novel. The words you have sweated, cried and lost several pounds worth of hair to create, compressed into a book. You get to cherish that moment when you hold it in your hand for the first time. Although it might not have turned out to be The One.
And then, of course, the anxiety kicks in again. What if it’s not good enough? What if the critics hate it? What if it doesn’t sell? Do I have to get a job? I mean, a real one?
Authors don’t love to write. They love having written. And they love that first rush.
I’m right there, right now. I am almost done with volume three in the Henning Juul series, and I have dusted off an idea that has lingered in the back of my head for quite some time. It’s not a Henning Juul novel, but it’s a novel that I need to finish.
And you know why, don’t you.
It’s because there are no limits as to how good it can get.