Novel writing is neither glamorous nor torturous. There’s few fancy coffees and little to no dramatic tearing of manuscripts*. Usually, it’s just me, myself and my laptop.
This year I’m writing my first proper grownup novel. Back in 2010, I wrote a 50,000 word novel for National Novel Writing Month, but I will not be returning to that messy draft any time soon so I tend not to count it. My current novel in progress has more potential.
So, to procrastinate from actually cracking on with my novel, here’s what it is like to be in the midst of novel writing.
There’s always gonna be another mountain…
Writing is not easy. Sometimes I open up my huge novel document and feel daunted and defeated. Some days it feels like the draft is riddled with problems that I’ll never be able to fix. Sometimes I can’t help but despair.
But time, effort and concentration allow me to overcome the problems one by one. Even the trickiest plot holes can be fixed. The most difficult scenes can get written one word at a time. I have to remind myself just to keep writing and overcoming hurdle after hurdle.
I must confess, I still believe…
I’ve actually been surprised by my own motivation and my continued interest in my novel. Enthusiasm for a project can fade when you’re working on the same thing every single day, but I still love my idea and my characters months in to the project.
Plus I still get those moments of excitement. In particular, when I solve a problem that’s been bugging me for weeks or I manage to come up with a particularly poignant passage. I get that buzz that makes me believe in my novel.
Go your own way!
When it comes to writing, it’s not one size fits all. Everyone works differently and novel writing is no exception to this rule. I’ve trawled through countless advice articles and writing books. Some of the advice has been invaluable, but not every tip works for me.
Trail and error have taught me how I work most effectively.
I write to music with the internet on. I write at desks, in bed, in cafes and on trains. I fix plot holes on the cross-trainer in the gym. I frequent Google images and Pinterest for visual stimuli. I type on my computer, but turn to pen and paper when I’m stuck. I record ideas on my phone when I’m out. I write with friends when I can.
Also, I don’t always write my scenes in order. Being able to jump around helps me connect the dots of my story. It also gives me the illusion of choice on those days when novel writing feels tedious. I mean, my novel is non-linear so things get shuffled around anyway.
You look like my next mistake…
I’m writing a novel, but I’m never just writing one thing. I find it helpful to have several smaller writing projects on the go too. Then, when I start spiralling that my novel is one big mistake, I start a new poem, a short story or one of these blogs. Having side projects rejuvenates me and allows me to procrastinate productively.
I hope this blog was interesting for anyone wondering about the novel writing process. If you’re a writer too, let me know how you like to write? Internet connection or no? Music or silence? Writing buddies or eternal solitude? Laptop or pen and paper?
P.s. Did you spot/enjoy my song lyric inspired subtitles?
*and that’s coming from me, a certified drama queen.