By Judd Vowell
“So…how long did it take you to write it?”
Inevitably, that’s the question that people always ask me in conversations about my debut novel. They hold the bound 460 pages, flipping through them with a surprised look on their face and wondering aloud – “How did you do it?” For someone who’s never done it, I suppose it does seem impressive. And looking back, the size of it all did seem daunting at first. Maybe even impossible. So, how did I do it? How long did it take? The answer is simple – an hour a day.
My first book began as a mid-life challenge to myself. It was something I had always wanted to do, something I always thought I could do but never tried. I dug up some inspiration, life experience, untapped talent – but even that didn’t quite get it done. In the end, what we writers need more than anything else, it seems, is time. The ideas are there; constantly swimming around in our gray matter, maybe even organized enough to form a complete story. But we have to develop them, build characters and scenes around them, and make sense of them. Above all else, make them come to life for some unknown reader. The task can become overwhelming if we let it. Why not divide it up, with small achievements along the way?
Looking at it from this perspective, I committed myself to writing one hour every day, sometimes more if life allowed. And even if the ideas weren’t flowing well, I willed myself to get something written on a daily basis. Not only did it help me complete the self-imposed challenge, it gave me somewhere to place my focus, my energy. It gave me an excitement that surfing the Internet or watching television never could. And ten months later, it gave me something else – a greater sense of accomplishment than I’ve ever felt. It was tangible success, even if it was just for me at the time. I suppose I get bonus points for it actually being good.
Now that it’s written, revised, edited, and published, the time I invested was more than worth it, and it actually feels like I started writing it just a few days ago. That’s the funny thing about time – yesterday will always seem closer than tomorrow, even though they’re the same distance apart. So spend an hour today, and you’ll find that tomorrow will be here before you know it.
Judd Vowell is a southern writer and musician who has studied both history and religion. His first novel, Overthrown, is a dystopian thriller, inspired by a four-day city-wide blackout his family experienced just months after the birth of his only child. It is available exclusively through Amazon. He lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with his wife and son. For more information about Overthrown, please visit www.juddvowell.com