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How Writing a Novel is Like Visiting Europe

You have a week in Europe–where do you go? One week–do you visit Spain or Ireland or Hungary? Do you take the city of Berlin or explore the Hague? Being faced with a decision like that can cause anxiety: I have to see as much of Europe as I can in a week. So, you go to Europe and you rush around and consequently enjoy and experience very little–
This is not a pointless tangent; this is how I am when I need to choose a new project to work on. There are countless possibilities: A novel I could be reworking. A story about a haunted submarine. Fleshing out my notes from a trip through the desert last month.* Any number of project concepts I have scribbled in notebooks or typed out in Google docs. This is my crazy, creative life; maybe yours is along the same lines. I also need to begin putting together the publicity for my book on Smashwords, Golden Bullet.**

The point is that you cannot see Europe in a week. If you have a week to visit Europe you pick a small region and focus on that. You have to be in the mindset of “there will be other weeks.”*** With picking that region or a new project you have to ask yourself what inspires you and go with your heart and instincts. There is no guidebook for this, is there? Everyone’s creative life is different. Even if you write your “writing life” is probably different than mine. But, we are all part of something amazing. Ideas are better than drugs, to coin a cliche. I feel fortunate to live this particular form of madness. I catch myself scribbling down an idea on a scrap of paper or pecking a thought into my phone and realize, “This is really f***ing cool.” Is it the same with you? I hope it is.

* Which will be part of The American Outback, my Winchester Mystery house writing project.
** Not officially released yet, but an advance copy is available here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/586397
***Really, though, a decent trip to Europe would take a month, three weeks minimum.

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