Gay Yellen: Writing a novel is like…

How do you describe what writing a novel is like? Here’s E.L. Doctorow’s version:

Some say writing is similar to riding a bike: you start out slow and wobbly, but then you get the hang of it. I take issue with that one. Writing my first book was a breeze compared to my third. So for me, writing is definitely not like sailing gleefully down the street on a two-wheeler. Another author likened it to making a puzzle: you create the pieces—characters, setting, plot, etc.—then fit them together in a complete story, thus solving the puzzle, too. There’s something to that, I suppose. I feel a touch of joy in simply working on a manuscript, even when my own puzzle has me stumped, until the moment when the pieces fall into place.

Here’s what one of today’s most popular writers says:

I agree with all of the above, except the bike analogy, because even now, on some days, it feels like I have completely forgotten how to write.

How about you, Gang? What’s writing like for you?

Gay Yellen writes the award-winning
Samantha Newman Mysteriesincluding:
The Body Business,
The Body Next Door
(available on Amazon)
…and, coming soon in 2022:
Body in the News
9 replies
  1. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    Great topic! For me, writing is like the ever-changing Gulf of Mexico, different every time you experience it. There are waves of prose some days, some larger and more spectacular than others. Some days nothing is moving at all. There's an ebb and flow, clarity and murkiness, and times when the sky's reflection is truly spectacular. No matter what, though, below the surface, there is always energy and potential. That's what I love most about writing.

  2. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Stop and go like a traffic light except on a lot of days, I seem to approach it when it is set on blinking yellow or red.

  3. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    I love all your analogies, Gay. But trust me while writing may be a breeze, I totally related to wobbling on that bike. I swear on some days I still need training wheels. Great post!

  4. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    Great blog! Being a pantser myself, I have green lights some days, red on others with very few yellow days. The frustration of the reds go away with a couple of minutes when I'm in the flow! And these green days make me feel like I'm flying in an open cockpit, the wind blowing ideas my way.

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