As most of us sit stuck at home during this quarantine, we are trying to keep our minds occupied to keep us from going crazy. Some of us are starting new projects, some of us are focusing on our fitness, some of us are taking time to just relax our bodies and minds. Personally, I’m doing a bit of all of those things plus re-watching all the Harry Potter movies.
As someone who was self-employed for years, I am used to being home all the time, working, relaxing, exercising, and spending time with my husband. For me, the quarantine brings back a familiar routine of waking up every day and getting to work or just taking a day to relax.
As a writer, the COVID-19 quarantine has been very helpful in keeping me on track with my novel. In fact, I am ahead of the goals I set for my novel for spring!
I was surprised at how quickly I was progressing through this book. But then, I took a closer look at my process and realized I have been working on this book since August 2018! I spent over a year researching, developing characters, and putting together an outline for this book. But, most importantly, I gave it time to simmer. I gave it time to slow roast.
The reason I find myself cranking out the first drafts of these chapters so quickly now is because of the time I spent on the preliminary work. As you saw in my previous post, life did get in the way, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It gave my novel time to simmer. It gave me time to really figure out what each character represents and what themes I should be focusing on in this book. It also gave me more time to research not just through reading books and articles but also by spending time with family, friends, and my community to learn more about my culture, the culture that I am exploring in this novel.
Over time, it became more and more clear to me what purpose this novel will serve to the South Asian community and to the literary community as a whole. That made it easier for me to write iconic characters and create a more complex and nuanced story.
I learned things about myself as a South Asian woman and as a writer that I was able to use to make the story richer. Writing about personal experiences in essays and memoirs is the most difficult type of writing. Applying your personal experiences in a fictitious novel, however, is a bit easier and much more fun. Your readers don’t know what’s based on real-life and what is made-up. The best writing is always based on personal experiences. Take time to build those personal experiences and include them in your novel.
It is also important to give your writing time to breathe because when you go back to it after a while, you see it with fresh eyes and from a new perspective. If you believe in your work and believe that you are writing a masterpiece, you must give it the time it deserves. Good things take time. Let it simmer.
In my upcoming blogs, I will share more of my process with you and, eventually, I will introduce you all to my characters! I would also love to hear about your experiences and suggestions that could make this journey more fun and interesting for me. Feel free to leave comments below or contact me personally through this website.
You can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page for updates on my writing, my workshops, and my events.
Stay tuned for more #browngirlwrites blogs. Next blog: “The First Draft: Less editing, more writing.”
Happy Writing! :)
Find me on social media. Links at the bottom of the page ??
Art by Loso F. Perez of Prime Vice Studios
These blogs explore my writing process and highlight my favorite writers and books.