So you want to write a novel…

AKA: Great Scott! My blog hasn’t been updated in months!

If you follow me on WordPress, you (hopefully) know that I do still blog weekly for The Uncommon Geek (www.uncommongeek.com), but yes, I have let my personal site languish.

These past few months have been busy indeed. Writing for the aforementioned site takes time but is a joy. I’ve also recently discovered how to capture footage of live gameplay on my various video game systems, which has led to a new addiction: making YouTube videos. It’s so much fun. But, if you’ve followed me at all during my last few updates, you’ll also know that I’ve been working on a novel. At last report, I believe I was on chapter 7…

Well. The manuscript is complete. Did it back in January, actually, though the time since then has been spent on editing (which is boring to me but admittedly necessary), and exploring avenues of getting published. I know I am far, far from alone in that boat. A lot of people talk about how they want to write a book, and those that pull it off invariably go on about wanting to get published and get that sweet million-dollar book deal.

I mean, of course I would love to get that sweet deal, with movie rights, video game and graphic novel tie-ins, and toys based on my work. But I choose to be realistic at this point. I’m just looking for someone willing to take a chance on my story, and that I get to share it with the world at large. Sure, I could just self-publish on Amazon, and that might still happen, but I’m enraptured with the idea of having an actual, physical book published. I just want to walk into a bookstore, point to my book, and say, “see that? Yeah, that was me.”

I don’t mean to belittle self-publishing. Even though it has a reputation for empowering writers who could probably stand to take a text editing course (that’s my nice way of saying… writers who don’t actually write well), I still think it’s a great way to share, and potentially it’s a good way for a writer to start earning a living off of his/her work.

The important thing that I want to say with this article, is that if you are a prospective writer, then follow this advice: just write. You know how intimidated I was by the task of actually putting my book idea into words? Can you say, terrified? Okay, it may not have been as horrifying as having to use a public restroom, but it was still pretty bad. But I took advice from an instructor of mine, and from people who support my endeavor, which is to just write. And it is really, really true. It’s so much easier to just write a story, even if you’re not happy with the first draft that hits the page, than it is to attempt to create perfection in the first go. If you keep editing chapter one over and over before continuing, you will be editing chapter one until the end of time. Or at least until a peer of yours completely finishes his/her book. When you’re writing a story, it helps to think of it like a construction project: lay the foundation first. Then the framework. Then, you can start worrying about walls, ceilings, a roof, and pretty stuff like furniture and decoration.

My science fiction book was started in September 2014, and finished just before the end of January 2015. “Just write” became my obsession, and I did not stop until the story was finished. Now, I am just working on the fine tuning… installing the plumbing and electricity of my house, if you will. Writer’s block is a trick of the mind and isn’t what you think it is. It’s your mind feeling creatively drained, a choice overload that many of us experience. Daily life is nothing but a series of choices, and so is writing. Your mind can only handle so much of that before it needs to decompress. But when you “just write,” you can give yourself permission to not commit to a choice. You’re just continuing your story, and later, when “writer’s block” symptoms lift, and you go back to edit what you spewed out, you’ll find that you can make creative choices again.

If you’re serious about writing, just write. If people in your life support your work, more power to them. If they don’t, then don’t let them deter you or tear you down. And don’t let yourself succumb to excuses. Just write, right now. You can always fix it later, but you’re the only one who can make words appear on the page in the first place.

FIN

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