After weeks of re-plotting and months of having my life turned upside down, the first words of a novel is being written from the beginning again. I have gone back and changed the characters to make them rounder and altered some of the plot lines — in fact I discovered that one subplot is actually a novel in itself. So, why do I call this the siege? Why am I so nervous? After all I have written a number (more than I want to thank) of practice novels to grow my writing ability.
A master science fiction, Ben Bova, once wrote, "Writing a novel is like laying siege to a town." (Or was that city?) Having written many novels, I testify that he could not be more correct! The novel writing and editing process is a long drawn out affair. That is just the beginning. Any writer today will tell you that the sale to agents, then to publishers, and then getting the book to market can take a long time as well — assuming it even gets there. On top of that, writers are now marketers — we have to be our own salespeople. While this is all going on, the professional writer is also climbing back into the trenches to plot and write another piece.
Why am I nervous? Since June 2011, my life has been turned upside down. For all my adult life I have had two full time jobs: one pays the bills and one is of the writer (which I want to be the one that pays the bills). In June 2006, I moved back home to help my mother after my father died of leukemia. I am an only child and I have no children of my own. So taking care of her has always fallen to me as her only blood family. In June 2011, my mom felt that the steep downward turn. She has since (after five months in and out of hospitals and skilled nursing facilities) improved enough to be home, but never alone. Since her return, I have now obtained a third full-time job – her caregiver. Over all the month, I have had to adjust all I do. In fact, I would be a liar if I didn't admit that I came close to taking a hiatus from writing. But, writing is the breath of my soul. I can't live a fulfilled life unless I am telling some story.
Living now on sleep deprivation, and I am the night shift and weekend shift of her caregivers, and under more intense pressure at the bill paying job, I entered the breach of the novel siege again. It is with great hope that the next blog on my projects in March will report that the rough draft is done. I might be overly optimistic, but that is the target I am aiming for.