So You Want to Write A Novel
Tips on Writing A Novel
- Knowing When You Are Ready to Start Writing
- How Should You Start Writing
- Keeping Motivated
- Publishing Your Novel
- Promoting Your Novel
- Just Show Up
Knowing When You Are Ready to Write A Novel
It’s said that everyone has a novel in them. And judging by what people are saying quite a few are in the process of writing one. Indeed, almost half the people I know are either writing a novel, thinking about writing a novel, or dreaming about writing a novel. So, if you have a good idea, have an itch to write that just won’t go away, and dream maybe of seeing your work on the shelf, here’s some advice on how to start the process and see it through.
How Do I Know I’m Ready to Write A Novel?
Writing a novel can be one of the toughest yet most rewarding things that you will do. Many compare it to running a marathon or even pregnancy and giving birth (the journey is tough but the final product is worth it). Indeed, the formula for writing a novel is often quoted as one part talent, one part idea, and two parts persistence.
While most of us will never be 100% ready to write a novel, there are some things to think about before you type that first sentence. First, you should have a strong desire to see your thoughts come to life. As a writer on TheNextBigWriter put it:
“But it's not a matter of 'can'. It's a matter of 'want to'. Want to so much it becomes 'must'” – Dee
Second, you should enjoy the act of writing. Yes, writing can be hard and you may procrastinate, but once you sit down at your computer and begin typing, it should be enjoyable. No matter how great an idea you have, or how strong your desire is to see your book in Barnes & Nobles, if you don’t like to write, a novel isn’t going to magically appear. Writing is a time consuming process and why bother to do something that you don’t enjoy?
As Mikira, another writer on TheNextBigWriter says:
“If you find it a chore to write, then writing a novel isn't for you. First and foremost you need to love the act of writing. You need to love your writing, even if it's just writing on a forum about something, to inspire people to think about their own lives in a different way. That's how I discovered I might have a talent for writing.”
Third, you should like to read. Reading is the key to being a good writer. By reading other writers, you start to understand what is effective and what doesn’t work. You see how plots are put together, characters are created, and locations are rendered. You will learn new words and ways of expressing yourself. A writer who doesn’t read is like a musician who doesn’t listen to music.
Fourth, you should have support from your loved ones. Writing is going to take time away from them and unless they support you, your writing will breed resentment and anger. Discuss it with your family. And if you’re wife or significant says ‘go for it’ and volunteers to proof-read your manuscript, consider yourself ahead of the game.
Lastly, you should plan to set aside time to bring your book to life. Ideally, you’d have an hour every day to spin your masterpiece but real-life often intrudes and makes this impossible. Think about how you can carve time out of your day or schedule to write.
“I write my novels around my work time and, even more importantly, the family time. But writing is also a family passion. Some families like to ski. Our family loves to write.
The image of the lone writer locked away is all well and good. But for me, the reality is two little children within arm's reach and often a TV going in the background. I pause in my writing to watch them dance for me, to fix broken toys, and to exchange 'I love you's'.
Do I feel guilty for the time that my writing takes from them? No. I don't watch TV... I don't go out... I don't stay on the phone for hours at a time... I don't lie around eating bonbons and demanding quiet. I don't even get Calgon baths (the children would bang on the door if I was in there more than 12 minutes -- they like to keep me where they can keep an eye on me).
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, my writing is THE SINGLE THING I do solely for me. And, should my work ever prove profitable, my children will be the ones to benefit because... well, I'd rather be writing than shopping.”
Some writers type away on the train, or early in the morning, or late at night. If time isn’t an issue for you, then consider yourself lucky. But if you have the first necessary ingredient – desire – you’ll find the time.
K. Jergens of TheNextBigWriter shared the humorous list below to determine if you are ready to write a novel.
You know you are ready if:
- You have won your state's record in a bladder buster contest. You drank the most Big Gulps of anyone AND you held it for at least twelve hours!
- You had your house remodeled so there's an equal distance from your desk to the bathroom and the kitchen.
- You think it's perfectly normal to hear voices in your head and you talk back to them, scolding them for not writing the scene the way YOU want it.
- You have invested in every kind of reference book known to man. In fact, your local librarian now contacts you for information.
- You are already used to performing on 3-4 hours of sleep a night. And I do mean performing, as one will do nearly anything when sleep deprived!
- You can write with the television on, the kids screaming, a movie playing on your laptop and a chat screen going all at once.
- You understand that researching for your novel means hours and hours of internet activity -- that have nothing to do with your novel.
- You begin to feel a connection with other novelists - so much so that you start writing them letters to tell them you named your first child after them, or their dog!
- You finally understand that you don't have to become your character in real life. No more standing around the grocery store talking like Oprah.
- You don't take editing so seriously that you return people's emails and cards with red marks.
- You don't get so cockey about your writing abilities that you send your manuscript out with a note to the agent that says, "If you don't accept this eloquent piece of art, you are the equivalent of a bombastic buffoon."
- You’re prepared to do research for your novel. For example, you might be writing a section in your novel about a pole dancer. Now, to make the section totally effective, instead of just watching the segment on Oprah like some other loser novelist might do, you could actually go to a place of entertainment and promptly ask to try out the pole dancing.
You Know You Are Ready to Write A Novel – Courtey of K. Jergens, member of TheNextBigWriter.
Do you agree or disagree? Do you have something to add or to ask? Join the conversation in the Novel Writing Thread of TheNextBigWriter.com Forum.