Like most writers, I keep a list of ideas going at all times. When I'm lucky, some of them grow into full length projects. Right now I'm focusing on one manuscript in particular with a goal to complete the first draft by the end of the year. Self imposed deadlines can feel like the opposite of creativity, but without them I'd spend all of my time in an Instagram hole and would never get anything done.
Since this novel isn't going to write itself, I'm putting the time in and setting some goals. As Thomas Edison said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." I don't think he meant Taylor Swift in micro-mini overalls and a crop top. I think he meant somebody in no-nonsense Carhartt overalls with triple stitched seams and reinforced knees. The thing is, no matter how creative or passion fueled the endeavor, getting it done still comes down to doing the work.
So, I'm writing. I make it a priority to write every day, and I set daily and weekly page goals. Even if I'm hitting a block, I keep my fingers moving on the keyboard. I might scrap almost everything and be left with one good sentence, but one good sentence is still progress. The question is...
"What's your book about?"
When people ask me this, I sometimes feel like that shrugging Zac Efron meme. Book? What's a book?
That's because books are like babies.
When you first have a baby, you embrace potential in its purest form. You'll know a lot of things about your baby. He might have daddy's eyes, she might have hair so thick the nurses comment how it looks like a toupee. Of course you'll have plans for your baby. You'll know where they're going to grow up, and when you'll first take them to Disney World. But who they truly are, and what their identity really is, they still have yet to show you.
I've brought home two beautiful babies just like this. After ten years of parenting, I can say that Ellie, my firstborn, is insightful. She is a deep thinker with a sweet, sensitive soul. Her spirit animal would be a fawn. Galia, on the other hand, is spontaneous. She wears not just her heart but her whole central nervous system on her sleeve. Her spirit animal would be a dolphin.
In much the same way, when I first began this novel, I had ideas for where the plot would go and what it would become. The more progress I make, the more it starts to crystallize itself for me, just like my children have. Instead of potential and general ideas, it's forming an identity of its own.
I knew that I wanted to write a fiction novel based on women's issues. I've always heard "write what you know," and that was not only where I wanted but needed to start. I appreciate works like "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin, that are not afraid to turn the stone of womanhood upside down and discuss the underside.
But if you had told me years ago that I would write a fiction novel as a social commentary on the patriarchy, I wouldn't have believed you - mostly because that word hadn't trended on Twitter yet. As it turns out, that's exactly what I'm doing. So much of what women experience, be it religion, family, or sexuality, is inadvertently (or intentionally) filtered through a patriarchal lens.
The novel centers around a woman's relationship with the different men in her life. Some, in the form of lovers and abusers, are not always positive. The roles of lover and abuser themselves are often interchangeable. Her relationship with her grandfather, on the other hand, is a stabilizing force in her life, and becomes the vehicle that takes her to some unexpected places.
I hope you'll come along with me on this journey as my little book comes to life. I look forward to sharing more about it with you, and hearing from you, too!