My wife often suggests that I am just a big kid and I agree. However, I sometimes wonder if we are on the same page with that idea. Is she suggesting that I am immature, spoiled, aggravating and always have to have things my way? I hope she is talking about my sense of excitement about new things, about my desire to learn and to experience new adventures. My childlike exuberance.
People suggest that as we get older (old) we experience a second childhood. I do not think I have truly left my first one, yet. I get excited so easily and pursue a new idea with an all-consuming eagerness. Writing is this way.
Last weekend was the Book ‘em book festival in Lumberton, NC. I was a panelist in the suspense genre. One of the questions the moderator asked was to describe our writing habits. How often do you write? My answer was “Every day I set aside two or three hours to write. This is what I consider my minimum.” Now if you asked my wife that same question about me, her answer would be something like, “All the time. If he’s awake and not at work, he’s either writing or thinking about what he is going to write. He even gets up in the middle of the night to write if an idea hits him.”
When writing my first book, Extinction, I did obsess. I spent two months writing the first draft. After going back and fleshing out the draft, I found I had enough material for four books. These characters became my invisible friends and playmates. Of course, I had to tell my wife the things they said and did, and before long, they were her invisible friends as well. (She is very understanding about the obsession and is one of my biggest fans.)
To illustrate how involved I get with my invisible friends, my wife and I were in one of those stores which has some of everything. I stopped at the mattresses, stood there and stared at them. When she asked me what I was doing, I told her that someone I knew needed several mattresses. Then I realized that the characters in my book were setting up a safe house for other survivors. She thought that was hilarious.
Let me encourage you to let your inner child loose. Give in to the urge to explore new worlds and play with imaginary friends. People might think you are crazy, but your invisible friends will stay true.