Are You Sure You Want To Write A Novel?/ Revised

Unknown3If all you want to do is write, go for it.  You don’t have to get permission or a license.  All you need is a pencil and paper or maybe a computer depending on how serious you take your endeavor.

Many professionals recommend that you start out small.  You could write an article for the local paper, a magazine, and even consider a blog. These avenues not only improve your writing skills but builds up the resume that you will need later when approaching an agent/publisher.

If you do want to write a novel, you should know it’s hard work. Those people who say, “Anybody can write a book, how hard can it be?” They’ve never written a novel and most definitely never had one published.

You have to research, outline, draft, and redraft, not to mention the countless revisions.  I have probably done a complete revision of my book 4-5 times.  I’ve lost count, to be honest, and these revisions don’t include the numerous times I’ve reworked scenes or random sentences that didn’t read well. Did I mention combing it for grammatical and structural errors? That’s a lot of fun, especially if you aren’t an English major.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to stop writing to google simple questions on grammar.

Another thing to keep in mind, your first novel probably won’t be a masterpiece. This is true of every writer of every first novel. That does include Nicholas Spark and J.K. Rowling. Keep in mind you are learning the craft as you write. You will need to understand how to work dialogue, pace your book, construct a plot that is plausible and cohesive, build tension, and create characters that your reader likes and can relate to. Experts say it takes about 10,000 hours of writing to prepare you to write a publishable novel.

I don’t mean to discourage anyone. I just want to make sure you know what you are getting in to.  Most books take 5-10 years to get published.  I’m on year 7 so maybe I’m approaching the finish line.  I sure hope so.

If this is what you want to do, improve your skills by reading and writing. Yes, you need to read. I would also recommend that you take classes, attend seminars, and join writing groups (Scribophile.com, WritersWrite.com).

You will get there. The biggy is DON’T GIVE UP!

-Jan R

Are You Sure You Want To Write A Novel?/ Revised

Need Motivation To Write?

Unknown3We all need motivation and encouragement to write sometimes.  Especially when it feels like we’re spinning our wheels and not getting anywhere. Are you worried about taking too long? I’ve been at this for five years.  I feel like a pro but I still don’t have a published novel to show for it. I recently ran across an article that made me feel a little better about my situation. Thought it might offer some encouragement to my readers as well. It listed  best selling Authors who took more than five years to publish their work.

  1. Margaret Mitchell took 10 years to write Gone With the Wind.
  2. Maya Angelou took 15 years to write the final volume of her autobiography.
  3. J.K. Rawling took 5 years to just plan the story of Harry Potter-her extensive notes included biographies of each character and plot diagrams.
  4. J R R Tolkein took 7 years to release the Hobbit and another 16 to release the sequel.

For those of you who may be a little shocked at these numbers, the average amount of time it takes to get a novel written and published is 7 years.  Don’t beat yourself up for slow progress.  Just keep typing one word after another and you will get there. And for those of you that get your book finished and published in less than 7 years, I say good for you!

Suggestions that may keep you motivated!

  • Remove all distractions. Switch off your electronic devices.  Remember you are writing not socializing on face book or twitter.  All it takes is one good distraction to make you lose your train of thought and that great idea you had a few minutes ago.
  • Create a writing schedule that really works for you. If there’s a time you’re naturally more creative, like when you first get up or when everyone has gone to bed, then that’s when you should be writing.
  • You need an accountability partner.  It could be your spouse or friend.  Share your writing dreams with them.  A real friend will support you in your venture.  We all need a cheerleader or two to keep us motivated and writing. Mine is my husband.  Everyday he asks me how my writing is going.  That’s all I need to keep me moving forward.
  • Write! Write! Write! even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Remember the first draft is the first draft.  Give yourself permission to err. Don’t bog yourself down with editing.  Get it down then get it good.  Just make sure it’s great before you submit it.

I hope this post was helpful and would like to ask you to consider following me.  If you have any thoughts on this post or anything else I have written, I would love to hear from you.

-Jan R.

Need Motivation To Write?