New Year: Writing a Novel
Look, we've all felt the pressure of New Year this time of year. Even when you're incredibly thankful for things some small part of you realises that maybe now is the time to do the things you always wanted to, and the world around you is acting like New Year is a big thing. That kind of pressure can be contagious. For some people, there's one mountain they haven't conquered yet: writing a book. But how can you write a novel while making sure you don't fall into the bottomless pit of new year resolutions? Here are some New Year writing tips:
Say it out-loud and proud
It doesn't matter who you say it to but committing to a project can often seal the deal for me and provide me with the motivation to continue! We all need people who want to read our words (however scary that might feel) even when we're only writing for fun. Telling the people around you (or maybe the internet in general) about your plans helps solidify your intentions I think.
People who leap head first into a novel aiming to be 500,000 words long without ever having written a book are going to feel the same way as anyone who has ever run a marathon without training. It is possible, but is it fun?
Writing novels are like running marathons -- you're not going to be able to do it well without systems in place to support you and, most importantly, you need well honed writing muscles. Starting out small is okay. Write short stories, write three chapters then see how you feel. Maybe after three you hate the book but have an idea for a different one. Every marathon-er has run a few five kilometre course, and more half-marathons, before they leapt into the full thing. You're allowed to do that too.
Commit to learning
We're all tradespeople of a skill that can never be masters. Realising this is incredibly freeing, as much as it is terrifying. Learn from your peers, and the best people you can find. Learn from worksheets and blogs and learn from reading other novels. If anyone ever tells you they're a complete expert in writing they probably mean they know a lot, not that they know everything. And that's cool! One of the biggest joys of writing is that nobody can know everything, and when somebody surprises you with a new technique or way of looking at things it's magical.
Find your people
Everyone is capable of going it alone. Everyone I've ever met is strong enough to write a book alone too. You got this. But the point is that you don't have to do it alone, and finding people with the same intentions and goals as you can be incredibly liberating! I like twitter for checking in with people (using the hashtag #amwriting!) but there are a million other places to find the cool kids of writing.