Writing books, like sailing, is a good training ground for the development of patience, presence of mind and endurance.
I have often likened writing to a long period of gestation, where there is the quiet inner creation. There are the expectations for its eventual birth and unveiling and the inevitable necessity of letting go so that what you have created can have its own life in the world.
My books have all taken a long time in gestation, Temple of the Grail took me close to ten years, The Seal six years, The Sixth Key the only anomaly, two years and Fifth Gospel A novel four years. It has now been seven years since I started writing Ghost Club so it is not in need of an emergency Cesarian Section yet!
One might imagine it would get easier, the gestation quicker, but in truth it varies as much from book to book as it does from child to child. The reason is that one has to let go of the previous book's voice before one can embark on a new one. If the voice is a strong one, as the voice of Fifth Gospel - A Novel, then it will be all the harder to find one's way to the new one.
Would you believe I'm still finding the true voice of Ghost Club? The reason is I'm being careful to allow it to speak. I'm trying not to put words in its mouth! The result is that I have four hundred or more pages written and I'm still waiting to know what it is really about. So when I sit to write, it is constantly changing.
Does that sound strange?
Well it was the same with The Seal, in fact, I didn't name it The Seal until three years into the writing of it because I didn't know it was a seal that my protagonist was keeping safe! With Temple of the Grail I didn't know about the secret in the monastery until a character announced it after two years or so and with The Sixth Key I didn't know my protagonist was looking for a 'key' until my editor called me and asked me to change the book's name. With Fifth Gospel I had the entire book written before I added the different time line and two new characters, Lea and Brother Marty - now they are so essential I could not imagine the book without them. They gave it a voice!
Every time I have listened for the new voice...it comes from the most unexpected places... If I had rushed those books they would have not been what they are. So I wait like an expectant mother.
To be an author requires patience, presence of mind and endurance...just like sailing. Patience to wait for the right voice, presence of mind to hear it when it comes, and endurance to take the voice to its desired end.
Well, it never ends, at least not for me...