I wish J.K. Rowling would write about writing.
I’ve read that the Harry Potter saga came to her as she was riding on a train. I know she used napkins and notebooks to flesh out her story. I know she drew pictures of her characters and their environment.
So what do I want to know?
At what point did she put pencil to paper and write down the words, “The Boy Who Lived?”
Having done that, what kept her from crumpling up that piece of paper and running for the hills?
And how in the world does one sit down and say, “I am going to write seven books” when it seems so cheeky to say “I am going to write one?”
How does one keep from collapsing under difficulty of creating a world that’s based on ours and yet totally different? How does one do the research, and extract the essence from facts so that they become malleable?
How does anyone without a job (of course…) justify the time and effort spent on that first tome—which may never find a publisher!—when there are people one loves who could live a bit better if one spent that time looking for and finding a steady job?
I don’t know how she did it and I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but she did, and I will too.
It’s not as though I’ve never written long-form pieces. There was that poor dreadful play I wrote in college, those training films I churned out in my twenties, and the legion of training manuals I spit out in my thirties and forties. I never knew as I started any of them how they were going to turn out, but I knew each one had to be finished… usually by a specific date. The play had to be done before I graduated. The films had to be scripted before production was scheduled. The texts had to be done before the students showed up in class!
I suspect goal one must be to set a deadline.
So here it is: August 15. The anniversary of the date I met my husband. By August 15, I shall have written my first novel, and whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, the first draft will be done.
Lord, it’s so much easier to write short pieces!
By the way, many thanks to my friends Sandra, Mary Anne and Nancy, who encouraged me to get moving and threatened to kick my ass if I didn’t do something about my recent case of inertia.
I wonder if J.K. Rowling also relied on a little help from her friends.