6 Gifs That Express What It's Like to Write a Novel

December 3, 2015

​I'm not a huge gif person. I believe they should be used like hot sauce - sparingly and only in the right situations. But sometimes hot sauce is the only way to go, and today is one of those times.

I've written one full book, a YA science fiction novel called ICARUS. The process of creating ICARUS took two years and lots of hair pulling, which is probably why I got a pixie cut halfway through the process. And while I don't intend to publish ICARUS, I think authors at any stage can empathize with the general progression of my feelings as this book went from conception to completion.

Stage 1: The First Tinglings

 

 

You're sitting in your car, humming along to Bruno Mars, when all of a sudden a new idea for a book pops into your head. You turn the idea around in your mind, thinking about what genre it would be, what kind of characters it would involve, and how the plot might progress. You're not committed yet, but the thought of starting out on this new adventure makes your toes tingle in a good way. There are so many possibilities, and for now you're content to just mull them all over.

Stage 2: Crazed Enthusiasm

 

 

You start writing, and the words flow like your sweet granny's homemade maple syrup. Your book is the best! It's going to blow people's minds and make it to the top of the NYT Bestseller List before it's even published. You'll make billions of dollars and give most of it to charity, just like J.K. Rowling. In fact, you'll probably be friends with J.K. Rowling. She'll ask you for writing advice and stop by unannounced for chick flicks and ice cream and mention you in the thank you notes for HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD. Life will be so amazing because goshdangit this book is going to be so amazing.

​Stage 3: Disgust and Regret

 

 

This stage usually happens after you've written the first chunk of the book and have moved into the dreaded middle act. All your planning and outlining have gone to the wayside, and you've developed a serious case of writer's block. You think, "I know! I'll just read through what I've written so far to get a feel for where the story should naturally progress." As you read, you realize that everything is a complete pile of poo. The story makes no sense, the characters are boring, and your descriptions sound like something written by a middle schooler who'd been told he was special all his life.

Stage 4: Renewed Vigor

 

 

After wallowing in self-pity for anywhere from a week to three years, you remember what got you excited about this book in the first place. This is your story - no one else can tell it! You read a few motivational articles on Buzzfeed and get back to work. You are no longer the naive, starry-eyed writer from Stage 2. Instead you are wise, deliberate, and committed to finishing what you started. This is perhaps the only sane stage of the process.

Stage 5: YOU ARE THE CHAMPION

 

 

You did it! You finished writing the book. There is no better feeling than that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Very few people who set out to write a novel actually do so, but you defied the odds. You put in the time, the effort, the late nights, and the tired mornings, and now you finally have something to show for it. You immediately open up every social media site you're on and post a humble-brag status, then you sit back and watch the congratulations roll in. You're on top of the world, and nothing can bring you down.

Stage 6: Revisions

 

 

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© 2016 by Natasha Watts

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