After what feels like an eternity of writing. I launched my first novel at a book signing party in Toronto last week. As I reflect on how long the whole process took, I wonder how I got through it. After all, the initial idea was born in a flash of inspiration on a dog walk with my sister. Six years later, a not-so-simple love story– when is love ever simple—with mystical martial arts, secret societies, and global conspiracy was born.
How long does it take to write a novel, build a business or bring an endeavor into fruition? And how do you keep going when you feel like giving up. A writer friend of mine, Arthur Fuller, used to say “you can’t take nine women and make a baby in one month.” A baby takes nine months to gestate, and then years of care and nurturing to develop into an adult. Books, businesses and other endeavors have stages of evolution too. Some of those stages aren’t always fun.
Harvard Business Review describes five stages of development: Creativity, Direction, Delegation, Coordination, and Collaboration. Most business authors use variations of these basic phases.
Everything begins with a spark of inspiration, the good idea, then when the hard work creeps in, the motivation can slowly seep out. I break down the creative stages of any endeavor, be it a book, business or product into four phases.
1. Creation. The genesis of the Idea. This is the inspiration, the spark that ignites the imagination and initiates the journey.
2. Crafting. This is the stage where the broad strokes of the project are shaped, bringing the idea into being.
3. Refinement. The idea gets re- worked, re-molded and fine-tuned as much as needed.
4. Polish. The well-worked idea receives any enhancements with a final smoothing out of roughness, getting ready for market.
Author Holly Robinson wrote in The Huffington Post, that four to ten years was the average time it took seasoned authors; Jenna Blum, Andre Dubus III, Wally Lamb and Richard Russo to write their novels. Robinson noted that NYTimes Bestselling author Jane Green writes novels in six months. Holly’s conclusion is that “writing a novel takes “as long as you want or need it to.” Thomas Harris took eighteen years to write “Silence of the Lambs”, and Stephen King, ten years to write “Under the Dome”.
I soothe myself with these stories. Even writing an article takes me weeks of revisions, but what this long process has taught me, is how to keep those inner fires burning, from the exciting inception of an idea, through the dreary re-writing and endless revision stages and on to the victory of completion.
Five ways to keep those inner fires burning.
1. Hold the goal in your mind. Visualize what it will be like when it’s done.
2. Re-ignite your passion and inspiration regularly.
Remind yourself of your initial excitement.
3. Discover the beauty of the refining process. Every detail of your creation is worthy of your attention. Revise until you get it right. Evolve with your project, adding depth along the way. This may be the most vital phase, taking your idea and making it great.
4. Expect setbacks and challenges. Instead of being discouraged, be encouraged to overcome. Setbacks are the threshold guardians of The Hero’s Journey testing you. Is this a project you have the commitment to see through to the end.
5. Draw inspiration from others along the way. Read success stories. Ask for help from others. Learn what you need from experts that can help you achieve the next level of your development, the next level of your project.
Keep those inner fires burning and you will be the one with the successful book, business or other endeavors.
Visit: http://www.cindystoneauthor.com to find out more about her new novel, SCORPION from The Myriad Series.