When it comes to writing a book there is no such thing as inspiration. To me it is sheer discipline – pure allocation of time and space.
It took me quite some time to finalize the structure and character arcs for my novel “Snow Job. The Great Game”. But once it was done, I locked myself in for ten months at my parents’ house just outside Kiev to focus on writing the prose.
I am a very goal-oriented person. Once I set myself a target I go all-in to achieve it. This is not necessarily a good thing, as it often means I miss out on the smaller joys in life like meeting friends, playing sports or having a nice meal. I was so obsessed with writing my novel that I even spent Christmas, New Year’s Eve and my birthday on my own.
My strategy was to flood out as much text as possible for a given scene or exposition, without editing or thinking too much about it. That would usually happen in the evening, with my productivity peaking around midnight. (However, English being my seventh language, it is still rather a slow process). Sometimes I would write until 4 or 5 a.m. and wake up around noon. Without getting up or brushing my teeth, I would grab my laptop and edit everything I had written the night before. The trick here for me was not to get distracted by anything – not to watch Youtube, check Facebook or even play with my dog. As one fellow writer put it: “we write best when we are closer to dreams”. I fully agree with this. This is how it worked for me.
I started writing my novel “Snow Job. The Great Game” as a single girl and finished it as a married pregnant woman.
These days I write on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings (plus any other time I can spare), and edit during the day.
My writing process involves submerging myself in the story and live it with my characters. When my protagonist injured her leg in the story, I felt her pain so much that when I finished writing the chapter I was surprised I could actually bend my knee. A week later, I injured exactly the same leg as Katya (my left one) and could barely walk.
Sometimes I literally have to force myself to take a break and enjoy life now and then. However, when you have a story in you, there is no greater pleasure than putting it in writing.