I'm currently on vacation at Lake Como, Italy. It is idyllic! I will blog all about my adventure next week, along with posting a couple of pictures. Although I'm taking a break with my dh and relaxing, I'm also still writing. My eyes pop open between 0600-0700 and my brain insists my body get out of bed to write while my dh is still sleeping. Once my dh rises, he hits the gym, which gives me an extra hour to plug away on my laptop. After we've dressed and I've gotten my mandatory jolt of java, I'm in vacay mode for the rest of the day.
In James Frey's book, How to Write a Damn Good Novel, he says what counts most about becoming a published novelist isn't talent. "We are all something else besides novelists, but if you are not a novelist in your heart, at your core, you are a dilettante and should not bother trying to be a novelist." Frey goes on to explain talent is not in short supply. You will find it in critique groups, at writer's conferences, and in workshops. Many individuals have a strong voice, write in a fresh way, create dynamic characters, and churn out witty dialogue.
"But most of these folks with so much raw talent will not make it as novelists. Why? Because they lack what's truly necessary: self-discipline, dogged determination, and stick-to-itiveness....The writing of a novel takes a great deal of time and the expenditure of a great deal of emotional and mental energy. Time normally spent with friends and loved ones will have to be sacrificed. Few novelists play golf, go bowling, or watch much television. Novel writing is like heroin addiction; it takes all you've got."
Frey is candid and doesn't hold back in his book. Before I started writing seriously, I watched on average 15 -20 hours of television per week and saw at least 4 movies per month. Now, I squeeze in 5 hours of TV with my dh per week after my brain is kaput and I'm lucky if I can get to the movie theater once a month. Being a serious writer doesn't stop when you're not in front of the keyboard. Dialogue comes to me in the morning just after dawn. While in the car driving to work or on the plane going on vacation, I'm plotting, creating pickles for my characters, hatching escape plans, pushing myself to find a way to up the ante.
Novel writing does require all you have, but it's important to find time to recharge. Surrender to your muse, but don't let the process drain you dry. Although novel writing is my passion, it is not my life. I strive to strike a healthy balance, where I don't lose sight of what's most important: good health, great food, steadfast friendship and the love of family.