I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging. About two months. Most of that time off has been spent focusing on my day job, trying to write, and mostly getting nothing done.
Work on the so-called novel has not been productive. It turns out I’m really good at brainstorming ideas. In fact, I have ideas for about ten novels that I’ve loosely planned out. The problem is, when it comes time to start a story I simply freeze up.
I can envision the scene and hear the conversations of the characters, but getting what’s in my head onto paper is no easy feat. The idea of writing a novel is pretty daunting, and as of yet I haven’t come across any magic formula that will help me along in the process.
So what’s a wannabe novelist to do?
Well, I need to remind myself of a few things:
- At the risk of sounding cliché, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’ve set ridiculous deadlines for myself like writing the first draft in 30 days. Ha! Like that’s gonna happen. I have a full-time job that’s mentally draining, so I’m not always able to write every day. I need to let go of the I want to be published ASAP mentality. The book will be done when it’s done, whether it takes 30 days, 30 months or 30 years.
- The first draft is going to be shitty. No matter what. The first draft is the discovery draft. Odds are it won’t even resemble the final draft. I have to let go of the idea of getting it right the first time.
- Forget about knowing all the details of the story. I’m a planner and I’ve tried outlining several projects. In my mind it makes sense to have direction and an outline is the best way to map out your ideas. But it’s really impossible to know where the story is going until you start writing it. I need to relinquish control and let the characters tell the story naturally rather than forcing it in a certain direction.
What I need to do is just get the story out of my system. It doesn’t matter if the first draft doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t matter if there are holes in the story. It doesn’t matter if the words are spelled wrong, if the wrong tense is being used, or if the story is being told rather than shown. That will all work itself out in the rewrite.
I just have to keep reminding myself of all of the above and move forward with the story.