I’m halfway through writing a book and I can’t help thinking this process feels like a road trip.
Here are the similarities:
Stage 1 – Everything is going to be just fine…
This is the start of the road trip / writing a book. Delusion sets in as you say everything is going to be just fine. You’ve done this journey before. You know the pitfalls, the bumps in the road, the frustration and the emotional highs and lows.
You’ve also spent ages planning this particular journey / novel, which is new for you. Normally you just have a good idea of where you are starting, where you need to get to and a vague idea of stuff in between. A proper plan is bound to make things easier.
You will have a selection of road trip accessories; water bottles, waterproofs and a variety of chewy, filling inducing, sweets. Your novel writing accessories will consist of a dedicated writing playlist, some lucky underwear, a new, but empty, notebook and you will have promised yourself to reduce your social media time. Seriously- what can go wrong?
Stage 2 – This is ACE!
You have started your road trip / writing your book and life feels ACE. Euphoria builds inside you as you clock the first stage of your journey or the first ten thousand words. Everything is brilliant – your road trip and your draft novel. The sun is out, the wind is in your hair, your lucky underwear is on and the words are gushing, This is all next level stuff and is as good as a romantic takeaway with your beloved, discovering a dress with pockets and an uneaten Easter Egg at the back of the cupboard.
Stage 3 – What the hell am I doing?
This is where things get tough and you start to question why you are embarking on a road trip with faulty air con, a car radio which struggles to find a station and a creaking noise which is getting louder.
From a novel writing perspective once you get past ten thousand words you begin to question everything. Why are you continuing to write a story which is making you grimace? You also find yourself saying – is that a growing sense of unease I’m feeling at twelve thousand words?
Stage 4 – Why do I always run into problems at the same places?
Despite planning the hell out of your road trip and your novel you still find yourself running into issues at the same places. Your car will once again choose not to breakdown by a picturesque spot yards from a car garage, but instead will opt for the middle of nowhere. You will get lost on the same stretch of road, struggle to find a toilet an hour later and have the same heated argument with your loved one on the same bit of motorway.
In novel writing land you will find yourself moaning with frustration. Despite an extensive novel plan you still get writer’s block at seventeen thousand words, you have the same emotional breakdown at twenty seven thousand words, by thirty five thousand you still hate your damn story , at forty eight thousand you find yourself once again browsing ghost writers and at fifty thousand words you are still beside yourself with novel writing hysteria. This is when you shriek – why the hell did I think a novel plan would make my life easier?
Stage 5 – No – I’m definitely NOT there yet!
This is that stage of the journey where you either have people in the car who constantly ask – are we there yet? Or you find yourself asking the same thing. A road sign with your destination and 100 miles soon answers your question. This also happens on a novel writing journey. I always find myself looking hopeful at my word count of 28,456 and thinking – am I finished yet? You will also find helpful loved ones will keep asking you (can feel like every five minutes) – have you finished that novel yet?
Stage 6 – Excitement
At midway the excitement returns. Whoop whoop you are halfway to your destination and finishing your novel. The sun returns to your world. Embrace it because it doesn’t always last for very long.
Stage 7 – The long stare of hopelessness
You still have miles to go on your road trip and you have many chapters left on your novel. You have lost interest with the view outside your car window, playing ‘spot the yellow car’ has lost its appeal and that spicy food you had at the last service station is playing havoc with your guts. From a novel writing perspective you will have lost interest in writing altogether. You will be sat staring into space with a little bit of dribble trickling down your chin. Everything will feel hopeless. Even Twitter will be quiet.
Stage 8 – Destination reached / draft novel completed
Yay – it’s over. You have completed your road trip and written a draft of your novel. This is a great stage for reflecting and thinking about what you could have done differently. Any good ideas for changing your route or processes will be written down somewhere and then lost. This means you can do all of the above again sometime soon. 🙂
Have a good day x