Monday, February 23, 2009

Guest Blogger Natalie Anderson

The Playfriends welcome back Modern Heat/Presents author Natalie Anderson today and she's talking about something I can sooo relate to...

As I write this I’m in position at the local library, gearing up for a marathon effort of editing/revising/rewriting my draft into a workable, almost submittable beast. I have my barest writing essentials with me, I’ve a warm jersey on (because I get very cold sitting for so long), my hair is tied up out of the way and the file is open.

I always think of this moment as like being in the last hut, three quarters of the way up the mountain and about to make the final push for the summit.

The hardest part is to follow, it always takes longer than you think it will, but you know the view from the top is going to be worth it. I’m full of excitement, adrenalin and fear.

It’s the fear that sees me refilling my water bottle a couple of times, lining up my pen, mobile and mini thesaurus up perfectly next to me laptop on the otherwise clear table.

I’m at the point of no return – this book is going to be finished this weekend – sure it’ll have some more polish, but really, this is it.

There is nothing like the feeling of relief and achievement when you finish a book. And there is nothing like the sense of satisfaction when you’ve put in a seriously hard effort – a long stint of concentration on a solo creative endeavour. It is something that really makes me happy. It is one of the most rewarding things about writing and a reason why I’m so glad it has become my job.

It took me a long time to find a job that I get this sort of satisfaction from and finding a rewarding career is a theme that comes up in my books fairly often. Yes I want my heroine to get her man, but I want her to have a job that she loves as well. Both my current releases feature heroines still finding the path that they’re happiest on – and the heroes in each help (although sometimes it feel like hindering) them in that quest.

So what if he’s loaded and she maybe wouldn’t have to work? She still needs her creative outlet, her sense of self worth/dignity, her own achievement and satisfaction. There’s nothing like setting a challenge and then going for it and getting it – I want my heroines to have that feeling.


Of course, despite the big push, this book won’t really be finished. After some more polish I’ll have to send it to my editor who’ll probably say I went up the wrong face of the mountain, that she’ll give me a lift back to the hut and I’m to try it from another angle this time. But that’s ok. Because when I’ve conquered the mountain once, I know I can go back and do it again (unless there’s an avalanche – that’s when the lovely editor swings into action with a S&R team and a shovel – and maybe a St Bernard will come along with some seriously strong liquid in his barrel to see me through the worst!)


But enough of the mountain metaphor, you know what I mean anyway right? Is it the same for you? Does writing give you that sense of satisfaction? Do you get that kind of exhausted ‘high’ after fifty hours fierce concentration? Does losing yourself in your work and creating a whole other world fill you with joy?

I really hope so – because getting that feeling makes the other stuff (that fear and sweat and stuff) all worthwhile.


With very best wishes,

Natalie

Visit Natalie at www.natalie-anderson.com



19 comments:

Angel said...

Wow, Natalie! What an awesome metaphor for that push to finally finish the book. It is a very apt one.

I usually find when I reach The End, that I want to collapse for about a week. :) I always need time to refill the well before I can think about being creative again. But it is a good feeling of exhaustion, one deserved after large amounts of hard labor. It's kind of like childbirh in that way. And though you think you'll never be ready to go through it again, it doesn't take long for those new ideas to start bubbling to the surface, that new character to start speaking to you.

That is the most exciting part of writing to me: the high of a new adventure!

Angel

Problem Child said...

Can I have a map to the hut? Please?

~bangs head against desk again this morning~

Problem Child said...

Oh, forgot to say - Hi Nat! Glad you're here!

Now, about that map...

Kathy said...

Hi Natalie! You've given quite a good visual for nearing 'The End'. I'm camped below the summit now. Momentum has me in its grasp. But part of me resists this pull, for it means letting go of the characters. This part of the process is numbing and I really have to force myself to make the climb because I know a steep grade awaits, be that rewrites or rejections.

On the plus side, there is so much to look forward to. Coming up with new ideas comes easily and the beginnings of books write themselves. Its the middle that bogs me down. LOL!

What kind of motivation skills would you prescribe to writer with an affliction of never wanting the book to end? ;)

word verif: pothshol
(Story of my life. I find myself hitting pot wholes all the time.)

Kathy said...

Uh, that would be pot 'holes' not 'wholes. Arrrr!

Playground Monitor said...

Remember that book I was working on for NaNoWriMo? I'm 5 pages into the last chapter, I've left the last camp and am struggling up that last little slope before the summit. I can see the summit but I'm not quite there. I had the moment of euphoria when I hit 50K words, because this is my first book and I'd never written that many words about the same couple before. I imagine when I type "The End" I might just have to be careful not to hyperventilate.

By the way, I read Pleasured by the Secret Millionaire on the beach in Curacao last month. You'd sent it to me for being the weekly word count winner in eHarlequin's NaNo group. Since it begins with the heroine on the beach I thought it was apropos.

Marilyn

Sherry Werth said...

Great post Natalie and welcome back!

At this point in my writing, I'm still at the base getting all my gear together. :D
But it's about time to begin the upward journey and tame the beast - aka - my fear of heights!

Angel said...

Maybe that's why I dread that final climb, Sherry! I definitely admit to a fear of heights. :)

Angel

Anonymous said...

Good morning Natalie,
I'm not a writer but I certainly feel that way when I have back to back events here at the school. Knowing that I'm starting with the 1st one and right up until I have the 4th one within 10 days. Same push knowing that I have to put the best foot forward for them all, even though I am mentally and physically exhausted.
robertsonreads
ps great visual by the way
word verification - recke, yep, that't a Monday for you.

Natalie Anderson said...

Good morning! Thanks so much for the welcome. You know, despite my marathon weekend I'm still slogging my way to the top - Someone send out a search party, huh?

Angel - I totally equate it to childbirth - it really is that mix of hell and the most amazing sense of relief/reward afterwards. And yep, already I'm having to restrain myself for tyhinking too much about the next one... those characters start yapping and they're sooooo tempting aren't they? :)

Natalie Anderson said...

Kim - you don't need the map hon, youknow the way intuitively - honest you do!

Natalie Anderson said...

KAthy - I'm with you on the boggy middles - most of us struggle with that on the journey I think. But I admit I do get to the point where I want to finish cos i'm so eager beaver to get on with the next - its always when I'm concentrating and working long hours towards the end of one that the next lot start talking louder. But oh boy, I admit that yes it is definitely the time I feel most nervous - as in terrified - I'm going to get a reaction on it so soon and I never know if I've written my best or worst book - or worse the most mediocre!!! But always you're trying to get it the best, you know?

Natalie Anderson said...

Oh Marilyn - chain thee to your chair and FINISH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tooo exciting! :)

I hope you enjoyed Rhys - I always thought he wasa rather gorgeous...

Sheryl yeah, go for it! And once you get going you can't stop or you might get too cold and freeze up there! (Then again, kinda depend on what you write, you could steam up - lol!)

Kathy said...

Ah! 'Tis a fear of heights, indeed! Aptly put, Sherry. ;)

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Robertsonreads! Yep - we all have our endurance runs doen't we? 10 days sounds looooong for a series of events...

Meant to say that the piccie is of Mt Cook - Aoraki - New Zealand's highest peak and a killer. It's beautiful though huh?

Kathy said...

I do have a problem with going back and editing as I go, Natalie, because the work never feels perfect. Thankfully, I've heard that all writers feel that way so I've learned to let go and keep moving forward like the little engine that could. ;)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Natalie! Great metaphor about the mountain. Oh yeah, this is THE best job in the world. Even when I'm cussing the final stretch.

Right now, revision hell. Though it's not too bad, really. Hope my editor agrees and that I hit all the points she wants me to.....

Natalie Anderson said...

Kathy - it is never perfect - that's just part of it - but yeah, just gotta keep on chugging!

I have to admit I kinda like revisions Lynne - I can see it getting better - why is it that editors are always right??! ;)

Kate Hardy said...

Having got the "Um, you went up the wrong face" email last week, I can sooooo relate to this!

And you know what every mountaineer (author) needs for that bit of the journey?

Yeah. Chocolate...