I’ve been writing pretty much all of my life, sometimes for fun, sometimes for profit. I’ve never had much a problem writing for length (if anything, just the opposite is true, I usually run over at the keyboard and use far too many words to say far too little) so I’d often flirted with the idea of writing a novel. I had several false starts, effectively producing not-so-short stories that had the word count of a novel but not really the structure and complexity of storytelling that I was seeking.
Frustrated, I decided to take a break from writing (I usually write about 1000-2000 words a day) and craft a bedroom set out in the workshop instead. In three weeks of not writing, my head filled up with ideas for a story that I’d been ignoring for a year or two (mostly because I’d convinced myself that I had more interesting projects to work on) and I decided to give the novel form another go. I started the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and finished the first draft on New Year’s Eve (with time to spare, so I went to a party). In the months that followed, I cut 40,000 words out of the first draft to tighten it up to 140,000 – still a bit long for marketing as a first novel, but I’m told it’s a good read even though I _know_ it’s far from my best work (I haven’t even re-read it in five years, let alone revised or tried to market it.
I’ve written several more novels since then (which I enjoyed much more) and find myself working more from habit than inspiration these days. Don’t get me wrong, I like working from inspiration and I routinely carry pen and paper with me should two ideas happen to rub together in my head and cause a spark, but I’ve found waiting for that spark doesn’t cover the mortgage.