Writing a Novel

For a few years now I’ve had an idea for a novel. It’s been turning around in my mind for most of that time, and I’ve written notes, a rough outline, and about thirty actual pages of text. However, I’ve never truly gone full bore into writing this novel. It simply sits in my head, waiting for me to build up the motivation and endurance to actually sit down and write the damned thing. Things always seems to get in the way – work, family, this blog, etc. It remains an amorphous cloud hanging over me, something I can see and feel, but can’t quite bottle up and express into a coherent whole.

Since I was around twelve years old I’ve had this dream of writing a novel and having it published. I reached part of the dream when during a fit a creativity in college I churned out an entire novel in a three month period. However, after spending the next couple years randomly sending out letters to agents and publishers, I realized it would never be published. I think that was for the best, as it was definitely a rough work, filled with youthful angst and in need of a tremendous amount of editing.

For a number of years afterwards I pretty much gave up on the idea of being a fiction writer. It was too hard to break into the field, and most people can’t make a full time living even if they are published. I went to law school instead and secured a fairly stable job working in government. Eventually, though, the itch started to come back. I started contemplating ideas for novels and settled upon one I really liked. I started to map out plot and characters and write a few chapters. But it never quite came together.

Now, I feel like I need to finally sit down and write this novel or else it will slowly begin to fade away. I realize that the odds I will ever get it published are in the low single digits, however, in some ways I just want to complete the novel for myself. Everyone always speaks of writing for the sake or writing and following your own passion. Maybe I should actually heed that advice and not worry about what will come of the novel after it’s written. At worst, I’ll have a completed manuscript that I can keep on my shelf and maybe show my future children someday – look kids, your father once wrote a novel.

I’m not even sure why I’m writing this post, except maybe I think expressing my intention in public to start writing this novel will motivate me to actually follow through. I also know at least a few of my readers are writers and hopefully can relate to my experiences. If people seem interested I can occasionally update my progress, and maybe I’ll even post a small excerpt from the novel if I think people will find it interesting. We shall see. However, the first thing I have to do now is simply begin.

Feel free to comment on this post, email me, or catch me on Twitter.

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3 thoughts on “Writing a Novel

  1. I was like you when I was young, knowing what I wanted to do but as yet unable to do it. After years of frustration and chronic depression and therapy therapy that got me nowhere, a voice in my head began to shout, "you’re not writing your novel." So I began to write. After a few non-starters, I finally found my topic and completed my first novella, which I later expanded into a novel length manuscript that I am still trying to publish. Yes the market is awfully tough, unless you have the right connections. But the feeling of accomplishment that came from that experience cured my depression and allowed me to get on with my life. Write the novel. Then rewrite twenty or thirty times over, making it better each time. A million words, they say, is what it takes to become a decent writer.

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