So, kinda in honor of just picking up Uprooted . . . which should be arriving in thirty seconds or so given the magic of electrons . . . let me draw you to this guest post by Naomi Novik over at Fantasy Book Café.
The post is about flow; that is: “My very favorite thing about writing — about almost any creative work — is the wonderful experience of falling into flow. You know flow if you’ve experienced it, that glorious mental state where you find yourself sailing through words or code or art almost effortlessly, often with an underlying sense of sure confidence that your work is going well, with no desire to stop working.”
Novik then adds, “Oddly, it’s not that work done in a state of flow is actually better — in my experience, the parts that come easy are indistinguishable from the parts that come hard. It’s that working in a state of flow is infinitely more fun.”
Now, I know that I am always saying that Everybody’s Experience is Different. But THIS IS SO TRUE. It is almost funny how much I can dislike working on some books/parts of books versus how compulsive working on other books/parts of books can be. Yes, I have been in both states for long periods. No, the various books are not distinguishable on the basis of whether I loved working on them or not.
What’s also interesting is that for Novik, interruptions can apparently kill flow. For me, not so much. I guess for me it more depends on whether I’m living in the story or not. Many books switch partway through: the first quarter is easy, the next half is murder, the back quarter is compulsive. But there’s so been so much variance now that I don’t count on that pattern.
I do disagree with this bit: “I don’t really believe in writer’s block in the sense of a state you get stuck in where words just won’t come.” I like the idea that if you’re used to writing in the flow, you might mistake your first slog-through-it experience as writer’s block. But I think writers who declare that there’s no such thing as real writer’s block must not live with clinical depression. (Neither do I, which is a blessing. But I’m convinced that clinical depression is responsible for the phenomenon that some writers experience as writer’s block, and I think this confusion of terminology and experience is not helpful.)
Anyway, if you, like me, have been looking forward to
Uprotted *sigh* Uprooted (as more than one of you noticed) more than just about any book due out this year, then if you have a minute you can click through and read the whole thing.