When I decided to write novels, I pictured myself sitting at a desk pounding out one great line after another. Sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on a latte, and taking in the humanity that passed by. I even imagined being called to New York City to meet with an agent or editor.
“You sure have a vivid imagination,” Willoe, my Muse, spoke from behind. I swiveled my chair to see what form she had taken this day.
She still appeared in the form of a female Elf, what I have taken to calling an Elfen. Though her hair had changed from white to red, and she was about six inches shorter than the last time I had seen her. I had half-expected her to look like a dragon, as she had a couple of months ago, but guessed to fit in my office she would have to be a pretty small one.
“That’s why I wanted to become an author.” I flashed her a smile. “That and the accolades, veneration, and notability that goes with it.”
“How’s that going?” Her sneer was like a water hose on my fire of enthusiasm.
“Give me time.” I frowned and turned back to my computer.
“So what’s with the title of this Post?” She looked over my shoulder at the laptop.
“I don’t know.” I hesitated because I had written the blog title, but wasn’t exactly sure where it was going. “I was just thinking that there are so many things that I love about writing, but it isn’t what I had thought it would be when I started my first books a few years back.”
“How so?” She walked around and dropped into her worn reddish-brown leather chair. “I know you sometimes give yourself unrealistic deadlines.”
I glared at her. There’s nothing wrong with my schedule. It’s the world that won’t comply with it.
“You’ve already mentioned how you feel weird marketing your books.”
“That’s true, though I think I am getting better at it.” I already worked up some plans for marketing Betrayal of the Covenant – the second book in my Dragon-Called series. (Look for Betrayal’s release in September 2016).
“Then what’s your problem?” Her eyes narrowed and she added in a sarcastic tone with a grin, “You can skip all your personality and character issues.”
“Very funny!” I never had to worry about letting my ego get out-of-hand.
“Just like most other people.” Her lack of sympathy was irritating, though I created her, so I only had myself to blame.
“I understand, but most people deal with a rather limited number of decisions each day,” I tried not to sound too defensive – only just a little. “I’m not talking about what to eat or which route to take home.”
She didn’t speak; it wasn’t necessary. Her eyebrows furrowed and her lips twisted. She waited for me to explain.
“I’m good with a few decisions, even a big one now and then, but when I sit down to write I am confronted with hundreds.” I sat back in my chair and sighed. “It can be really overwhelming at times.”
“Go on,” the sarcasm was gone, replaced with skepticism.
“I write Fantasy.”
She nodded and rolled her eyes.
“The characters and events in my novels didn’t exist before I created them.”
“I hope you are going to make a point before your next book comes out.” The sarcasm returned.
“When I put a character in a story I have to decide what they look like, what personality they have, what are their character traits, their relationship to other characters and a host of other facets about the character. The same goes with events and places – where is it located, what does it look like, what happened and when.” I let out a deep breath. “A lot of things.”
“You knew that coming into this,” the impatience in her voice only emphasized her irked expression.
“Yes, but I didn’t know what I was in for after I created all this. I am constantly required to make decisions.” It was hard to explain what I was going through as it had only come to me yesterday, an unexpected epiphany. “Creating a character is tough enough, but once they exist, I have to decide if they go left, or right, or straight ahead. If another character is around, do they go with them or in a separate direction and if so, which way? What is their motivation for deciding to go that way? What is the implication of them going left rather than right, and how do they feel about that?”
“That sounds pretty intimidating.” Her face relaxed and she seemed to begin to understand my problem.
“Multiply this by dozens of main and secondary characters with many more supporting ones. Add to this more than a score of locations with dozens of settings. One simple paragraph could require me to make a dozen decisions.” I sagged in the chair. “And making the wrong decision, say having a character go west vs east, means they may not meet another specific character (that I might not even have created yet). And having or not having the meeting may change the entire direction of the story.”
I shook my head and wondered, why do I keep putting myself through this? Even a couple of hours of writing can be exhausting.
“True.” I smiled as well and reminded myself, It is worth all the hassle of having to make so many decisions.
Do you have to make a lot of decisions in your life? How do you feel about it and how do you deal with the constant stress?
Images courtesy of The Motivated Mindset, Kevin Hogan, and Life Hack.org