One of the most perplexing hobbies a person can do is to begin writing a novel. Writing begins and ends to two key factors: Time & Motivation. While these are essential for what it takes to complete a novel, other factors such as themes and character development will make the difference between a great read and one that is boring. Despite whether a novel is good or bad it has to be completed. Some authors can finish a novel in weeks while others spend years or even decades to complete their work. Sometimes it isn’t the author but rather the work itself that creates a challenge. Their vision may require extensive research or have limited sources to reference, which is why, in my opinion, every novel is different. I firmly believe that in the work of most novelists you can see representations of their lives and their very souls. Time has a way of escaping us all. Car troubles, relationships and other complexities of life will find a way to disrupt a routine. Routines are extremely important when writing. I need an environment where there are slight disruptions, where I can work for half an hour uninterrupted and then something breaks my concentration for five minutes like a phone call. That to me is like mentally hitting a tab key, I am able to dial back in. I am able to find the time to write also because my motivation is there. I love to write and I find it fun. I yearn and need to create stories that feel as real as possible, which is why I draw from my own personal interactions. Human connection is at the heart of all great novels.To me giving hundreds of hours in pursuit of a novel is not time spent poorly, but rather like a complex puzzle that only I can solve. Plus I have total freedom, my characters can say and do anything. This allows me to challenge my own ethics. I have written scenes that were so horrible and vicious that they have kept me awake at night wondering if there is something broken inside of me. But chasing that feeling and pushing beyond my mental limits is a rush. I find it challenging and most of all fun. I relish in creating characters that are neither good nor bad because in reality, most people face a constantly evolving conflict between the two. A good person can do horrible things, and a bad person can show kindness. Let me elaborate using a realistic example from my life. The other day I needed to change my oil in my car. I live in Alaska and we got a ton of snow and spice recently, so I needed the maintenance to be done. So that day I drove through the snow, I am sore as I recently had surgery. I arrive at the Jiffy Lube, the line is usually super packed and my time is limited. To my delight it looks like I am going to get right in. Great, because my body hurt and I had a short window to finish my errands. Inconveniently, at the same time I see that an old lady has gotten here. Now it is a race to the front door. She was a nimble old bat and glided across the ice with ease. I need to beat her to the door. I hate waiting in line behind an old person. In my experiences, they chat too long and I didn’t have time for that nonsense. With pain in my body and at risk of falling on the thick ice I outpace her. But as I get to the door I am faced with a dilemma, she’s far enough away yet still close enough for me to hold the door for her. What do I do? In the end I did a door prop and waited for her to get to the doorway, while still securing my place at the counter first. Good thing too because I was half finished with my oil change by the time she finished with the clerk. Thing is I don’t get the whole going out of my way for strangers, does that make me a bad person? Possibly. Yet my time is for myself. I believe everything has a value, doing a favor should be paid back, if you ask me for a favor you should be in a position to pay it back. I plan, prep and when unforeseen issues happen I handle them without relying on others. By contrast, my girlfriend is a great woman and her life experiences have given her a different perspective. She once pulled over on the side of the highway on her way to work to help a person pick up their kayak off the busy intersection when it fell off the roof of their vehicle. I would have kept driving. But this is the kind of stuff I love to write about.The actions of people are both unpredictable and predictable, being able to capture these details is what makes for a relatable and three dimensional story. When you are writing, allow it to be fun and recognize your own motivations, that way you are putting in your time to finish something that you can be proud of. Don’t be afraid to put your balls on the table and push beyond the limits of your imagination.