Life Updates · Writing

A Novel Idea: Personal Writing Workshop #1

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And so begins my second attempt at writing a novel – the first being an impromptu signing up for NANOWRIMO a few days before the starting time. This go around, I want to go in a little more prepared.

Today was a personal day for me as I had a few appointments to knock out and wanted to reflect on where I’m at in life. It turned into a perfect day to sit at my neighborhood Starbucks and think more critically about what direction I wanted this novel to go into. I had spent so much time last November coming up with twists on my actual life – giving myself a twin brother and living in London. Although some aspects of the storyline were based on fact, I still did not feel invested in the story I was producing.

So I brought out the big guns from my Green Valley Bookfair excursion a few weeks ago. What I appreciate about these writing reference books is how honest they are about the writing process. Summing up what they’ve been saying so far is that writing is not an easy task. Inspiration doesn’t just hit you. I loved how they mentioned the romanticizing of sitting at a coffee shop, fingers at the ready to type the next great American novel, with a few notebooks, scraps of paper strewn about the table you are working at. I know I have imagined that nonexistent ‘writer’s life’.

The one book I started the day out with, The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors, and Readers, and Set Up Your Novel for Success, provided great insight into how the process works once you submit your draft – which I intend to do, although the idea of self-publishing does appeal to me. Knowing the ins and outs and how long an editor/publisher/agent reviews your materials is enlightening and gives good context for how to structure the novel, even though the ideas may not be fully formed yet.

Taking a peak into 90 Days to Your Novel: A Day-by-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book, being a writer becomes even more real with the proof that some authors have finished novels in months – some banging out 2-3 a year! 90 days aka 3 months does not sound long at all – it kind of reminds me of any weight loss advertisement ever seen, Lose 10 Pounds in 30 days, Drop 2 Sizes in 3 Weeks, etc. etc. Although this time, it should be Write 50,000 Words in 90 Days!!!! (Money back guarantee? Probably not haha). At the beginning it seems easy enough, you have a plan, you’ll stick to it. However, life comes around and what’s usually the first thing to go (sometimes exercise, but in this case potentially the 2-3 hours you’re supposed to set aside writing every day).

Yes, this post kind of is my inspiration to keep going because I know it is not going to be a walk in the park. I’ll know I’ll hit a slump, I’ll be worrying about other life troubles, or I’ll just be beaten down and doubt myself. So how do I keep myself accountable? Maybe it’s creating those cross-out boards with 1-90 written in each block (aiding towards my visual learning). Or maybe it’s putting aside $1 every day so by the time 90 days is done, I’ll have $90 to celebrate (or to pay for shipping fees of the manuscript 🙂 ).

So moving forward, I gave myself a start date – enough time to read through these introductory chapters and create a basic outline that I feel good about. And here, we….go 🙂

How do you stay motivated towards deadline goals?

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