(picture courtesy of Flickr, Scott McLeod)
As part of a 40 hour video summit, I heard Joanna Penn speak about how exhausting it can be to write because you are constantly having to make decisions: What is my character like? What job do they hold? Where do they live? What do they do each day? What are their favorite foods? It’s endless.
That’s why writing a series can be easier than writing a stand alone book. At least once you get your characters in place, you don’t have to re-invent them each book.
I can relate to that. While I am writing, if I’m in the “flow” it feels easy, like no work at all. I’m often energized by the process, but then collapse the next day or later that night and wonder why I’m so tired.
Making all these multiple decisions about each character is exhausting. I have a hard time ordering what I want to eat off a menu, how can I manage all of these lives that are dependent on me to bring them into being? Is it any wonder that I have no will power left after a day of writing? I go right to the chocolate. I’ve exhausted all of my decision-making ability so when my husband asks what I want to do for dinner, I have no answer.
If he asks me how my day went, I’ll say fine, not that I just rode an emotional roller coaster, lost a job, was diagnosed with cancer or lost a loved one, though my characters may very well have experienced this. I don’t say I had a very difficult conversation with family members about past events or family secrets. I say fine. My day was fine. I got a lot done.
And then it’s another day and time to make decisions again.
I have a difficult time deciding what to wear each day. I could happily wear a nun’s habit if that meant no more wardrobe decisions. How can I manage multiple wardrobes for multiple characters? (Probably why I usually avoid such details in my writing.)
The life of a writer is one of endless decisions. How do you cope with these decisions?