I wrote Every Time We Say Goodbye over a long period of time. I started the novel, looked for a day job, went to teacher's college, abandoned the novel, found my dream job, worked on the novel, went to Bhutan, came home, taught class, marked exams, developed some courses, worked on the novel. It took so long that the work did not feel like...work.
Let me just add: it didn't feel like sitting on the couch watching Mad Men and eating maple bacon toffee, either.
It felt like small periods of writing work spaced out endlessly between profoundly satisfying teaching work and profound, paralyzing self-doubt.
And by endlessly, I mean eight years. Maybe ten. Day One is hard to remember.
It's only now, writing every day, that I realize how much work it actually is. The thinking work, the waiting work, the laying down story lines and tearing them up work. The line by line writing work. The burst of words work, the slow creaking accumulation of words work. The dealing with doubt work. (Just because you wrote A novel doesn't mean you can write THIS novel.)
Even when I'm not writing, I'm writing. I almost fell off my bike at the gym because I thought of something I needed to write down RIGHT AWAY. (This is why I don't ride outside.)
When I'm not really writing, I'm watching Mad Men (and Nurse Jackie and Girls) and eating maple bacon toffee. There has to be some kind of a balance, right?