How to Write a Novel in just Eight Short Years…

I have been asked by fans, coworkers and family members “How long did it take you to write a book?”  When I respond with “Oh, about eight years…” they seem somewhat shocked.  Why did it take so long?  Let me answer that with a warning:

Beware the demons of Apathy, Lethargy and Procrastination!

When I first started writing, I didn’t really think I could do it, so I didn’t take it seriously.  I did not discipline myself to write every day or even every week.  The result?  Sometimes months would pass (that’s right, I said months!) with my manuscript lying untouched on the harddrive of my computer.

Now, I will be the first to advise any writer, that you should strike a balance – don’t spend all of your waking hours glued to the computer screen.  Pay attention to your spouse or significant other, your kids and your family – they won’t be around forever and if you blink a few times the years will have passed you by.

But, that being said, make time to write!  Even if you have written yourself into a corner on your novel, step back and write a short story based on some of the minor characters.  I did that with four stories – it gave me some needed breathing space with my novel and let me explore the depths of those other characters.  As a result, I think it helps make their backgrounds richer.

Another suggestion – don’t listen to the negative little demon whispering in the back of your mind.  Shove the little beast into the darkest, deepest closet in your head and then slam the door shut and lock it.  Regardless of what that wicked little monster says, you CAN write and you SHOULD write, so put fingers to keys and get to it.

When I finally got serious about writing, I discovered that the more I wrote, the easier the ideas came – not always, but usually.  Staying in the habit of writing keeps the knife edge sharp.  Of course I need to take my own advice here, since you can see I’ve not updated my blog in a couple of months – that whole work/life balance thing again.

Lastly, something that helped motivate me to finish my story and continue writing was to network with other authors.  Join a writing group such as Bestsellerbound.com or Critters.org.  You will meet wonderful new friends and have a chance to share your triumphs and your tribulations.

So until next time, go write the story that has been rattling around your head for a while – unfetter your muse and go WRITE!

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3 Responses to “How to Write a Novel in just Eight Short Years…”

  1. Here! Here! Well said and here’s to banishing the demons and rendering them powerless. 😀

  2. Great suggestions. Writing moves two spaces up the priority list. ;_)

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