It's said that we've all got a book inside us just waiting to come out. Well, that may be so, but I think that many of us are put off because of the sheer size of the thing and the ... that we
It's said that we've all got a book inside us just waiting to come out. Well, that may be so, but I think that many of us are put off because of the sheer size of the thing and the commitment that we need to put into the project.
I'd like to offer a few suggestions that might help you to overcome your fears and write that book.
1. Read everything you can.
I good writer is often a good reader. I read to the point of obsession. In 2001, I read just over 100 books. Most were novels though I managed to fit in a few biographies, poetry collections and technical books. I spend half an hour reading every morning. I get up, make coffee for the two of us, then read until the children come bouncing into the bedroom. Again at night, I try to spend a bit of time reading too. You can always find somewhere or sometime to read.
2. Work out an achievable workload.
I work at home. So I can set myself a demanding target. I normally aim to write 2000 words per day minimum. I take the weekends off, so it should be perfectly possible for me to write a full-length novel in a couple of months.
So, given your circumstances, how much can you write a day?
If it's 400 words, then you'll write 2000 in a week and you'll have your novel finished in about 10 months. If it's 800 words, you'll be finished in 5 months.
And that's how I go about writing a novel. I work out my workload, break it down into easily achievable sections and just keep at it. It's called discipline.
It's amazing how the work mounts up. You don't feel too overwhelmed because your daily schedule doesn't push you too hard. You write your novel one step at a time.
3. Don't worry about what you're writing.
If I worried about the quality of what I was writing in my first draft, I'd give up. It would be too hard.
Instead, I try and get the story down as quickly as possible. No outlines. No chapter-by-chapter headings. I just tell a story.
I know that when I come back to it, there will be lots to improve and to work on. But by that time, I'll have written my book. I'll just be editing it and redrafting it.
I hope these tips help. It's been part of the technique I've developed to help me to get to the end of each novel. They are not golden rules - feel free to break them. They just work for me.
Andy Walsh is a househusband and writer living in Cumbria in the UK. He writes novels, short stories, articles and poems some of which you can read at http://www.stbrodag.com. Check out 'PROMOTE YOUR WRITING' at http://www.stbrodag.com/promote/promote.htm.