Confession: I’m not even close to done with my novel. I’ve made significant progress, but it has come in fits and start. I’m trying to build momentum and failing miserably. My husband tells me that I just need to sit my behind in the chair and write every single day. I appreciate his encouragement, but I also tend to mutter, “You’re not the one shifting into an alternate dimension.”
My novel is set on a colonized Mars. The colony has its own dialect of English. Characters weigh 38% of what they would weigh on Earth, live largely underground, have always seen the sky through radiation-shielded helmets or windows, and cannot boil water without a pressure cooker. The most common household pet is a rat. There are two moons in the sky every day. Dust is inescapable. The main character is a busy first-year college student with a horrible roommate and hyper-vigilant parents. She interns for a geologist at a tiny research installation with a buggy computer system. Don’t forget the planet-wide dust storms!
Contrast that with my world as a pastor’s wife in central Kansas. The town we live in has a population of about five hundred. The closest Wal-Mart is twenty minutes away. I have an active toddler who likes opening cabinets and drawers. I’m the church nursery director, I work with our youth group, I’m on the missions committee, and I’m gearing up to teach a ladies Bible study this fall semester.
Do you see why writing my novel feels like shifting into an alternate dimension?
I sit my behind in that chair to write, but sometimes I just can’t make the transition. The world of my novel is so far removed from my day-to-day existence that I stare at Scrivener and wonder if I actually wrote the text staring back at me. I feel like I need a Star Trek transporter or Tardis or tesseract to get to that universe again. If you happen to have one of those things, I’d love to borrow it.