It was around the start of March that I started to write my scenes. After failing for a week or two by setting unrealistic targets and only writing ‘when I was in the mood’, I decided it was time to look at my process.
I can’t write the novel in a day, or even a week. It takes time. And if I wait until I’m ‘in the mood’, I’ll still be writing the fucking thing when I’m 80. So this is when I Googled.
Google can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
If you’ve ever tried Googling your symptoms when you’ve been ill, you’re gonna get told you’ll die in the next week. Now, the asshole who said that may be right, but it’s probably more likely that you’ve just got a bad cold and they’re imparting their lack of medical knowledge to The Internet because, well, their life is shit and they have nothing better to do with their time.
These people need to get out more. Sign up to Tinder. Or Grindr. Whatever tickles the organs. Although they’re probably convinced that kissing is a surefire route to lip cancer, and therefore avoid all kinds of mouth-to-mouth contact, no matter how tempting the proposal.
Darwinism at play. Satisfying.
So when I Googled ‘tips on writing a novel’, I was confronted by blog-upon-blog of people I’ve never heard of telling me that my book is shit. It’s like telling a pregnant mother that her baby will be ugly. You have no way of knowing and just because your baby is ugly and the birth was particularly hard, it doesn’t mean that those rules apply to everyone. Such is the world of insecure creative types that they feel far more comfortable slagging something off that pointing out its merits.
So here’s my rule: Everyone who tells me my novel is shit before its even been written can fuck off. And everyone who tells me how hard writing is, well, is that not bloody obvious in the first place? Siphoning 100k words of prose from your imagination and making it vaguely coherent is a huge undertaking.
I am a big advocate of artists, be they musicians, writers or whatever, helping each other out. It’s not a competition. There are enough readers to go around. Just because Writer A is #27 in Kindle’s Dystopian YA Chart, doesn’t mean Writer B will have no success in the Historical Romance Chart.
Do what you love and be kind to your fellow writer. They’re probably not a dick. You might even have things in common.
For every site containing words of warning: DO NOT UNDERTAKE THIS TASK UNLESS YOU ARE WHITE, MALE, OXBRIDGE EDUCATED AND HAVE READ ULYSSES AT LEAST 17 TIMES, there is a good site.
This one, for example:
There are tips, enthusiasm and enjoyment.
We are told writing is a solitary life, a hard life which you (yes, I’m talking to you) are probably not cut out for. Joanna enjoys writing. Imagine that? The horror! And while initially stumbling across her blog was out of a desperate struggle to have the total word count of my first draft confirmed, I was taken in by the sheer pleasure she seems to get from writing. I have not read any of her novels, but now I think I will. A new customer for her. A warm little glow in my insides for me.
If you are writing a novel, persist. Take joy and pride in it. Not everyone has words spilling out of their head so bad they have an insatiable need to write them down. You are lucky. Sure, it’s a big task, but nothing worthwhile is easy.
Shut up and do it.
My psychotherapist says I live too much of my life in my head. But sometimes that’s not such a bad place to be.