"Everything you ever wanted - personally and professionally - is 2 or 3 steps beyond your comfort zone." -Andy Andrews
Everyone has a story to tell. I believe that. So, based on that belief, I’m writing to encourage you to tell your story. With today being near the end of March, I’m laying out a plan to help you figure out how to write and finish your very own novel by the end of 2010, roughly 275 days away.
I wrote a very similar post in February of last year ... and I heard from a lot of people. Since I'm working on polishing my novel, I thought I'd post on the same topic again, for 2010.
Why, you ask, should I think I can write a novel before the end of the year?
Great question. Two years ago at a writer’s festival, I listened to a man speak about how his novel had taken him over ten years to complete. Every fall, the NaNoWriMo phenomenon goes on, or National Novel Writing Month, where writers complete an entire novel in one month. If we take a middle ground somewhere between the two, I’m guessing nine months to complete a first-draft of a novel might be just about right.
photo of William Faulkner's writing space
How do I know the proper format, margins, etc? Since many books are devoted to this question, I’ll start by pointing to some I think are very helpful. The First Five Pages and The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, Novel Idea by Angela Hunt, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne, and my personal favorite Stein on Writing by Sol Stein along with his How to Grow a Novel.
See? It can be done.But in my experience, the ONE THING that will enable or prevent you from finishing your novel in 2010 is … discipline.The most grueling thing I face in writing each day is just that—writing each day. No matter how comfy the chair I choose, I find it almost impossible to put my bottom in it. No matter how sleek and powerful the computer, I find it tough every day to place my fingers on its keyboard. No matter how simply the clock says it’s time to write, my whole will pushes back and says it’s time to do other things.
Writing is hard work.
BUT, if you are one of those adventurous people who says Just Do It … I know without question that you CAN do it. To close, here are some of the benefits I’ve found from the discipline of writing each day.
1. The biggest advantage to writing each day is that the story stays fresh. The writing flows, and continues to flow day after day by writing (even a little—500 words) each day.
2. Like heading to bed at a similar time each night, writing at a similar time each day can be beneficial. The body knows what to expect. The mind comes ready to write, and the flow is easier.
3. The story becomes a place to look forward to going each day, if only for an hour.
4. The routine lends itself to the others in your life respecting your time to write. Distractions are always plentiful, and my house certainly has a constant list of more things to do, but with a routine hour set aside each day, writing becomes a priority.
Go ahead, start thinking today about your novel, and plan to start. You CAN write and finish your novel in 2010.
Questions or extra thoughts? I’d love to hear them—post in the comments section below.
And of course, I’d love to hear about your journey along the way to finishing your novel. You can contact me directly at http://www.jenniferlynking.com/ on the Contact page.