I’ve been wanting to write a book for a while now. And I’ve had this story simmering on the surface of my thoughts since I was a third year in college. That’s everyone’s shtick though, right?
Oh, I’ve had this great idea since forever and a half ago, but I was just planning everything out, and now I’m finally ready.
Welp. No. That wasn’t me. I actually wrote out a book. I wrote a good chunk of one, and it just needed an ending. Then, I started to re-read it. Yes, I know. Rule Numero Uno: NEVER re-read the damn thing until you’re done, you idiot. But I’m an idiot, so I started editing. And editing. And editing, until it was this whole other beast. And now I really didn’t have an ending. And I started to hate it. That’s when I knew I just needed to go back to the drawing board and start over. It made me realize that I just wasn’t happy with the initial piece. The story is there, but I think my biggest problem was that I was trying to write this book for an audience who didn’t exist. I wasn’t writing it for myself. And that was my downfall.
Constantly wondering , ‘Are they going to like it?’ was agonizing.
Agony to the point of debilitating. Who was this they? Publishers, editors, the NYT Bestseller’s List…the list could go on and on, just like my imaginary expectations. I found that I couldn’t write another sentence of my story when every phrase I typed out was punctuated with that damned, ghostly question: “Will this sell?”
Like countless writers before me , I had fallen from grace. I had unknowingly become a “sell-out” before I had even really started. And it wasn’t about the money, I have a decent job, but the thought that I wouldn’t be happy unless this book became good enough to be recognized made me sick. Would it be nice to have a best seller, abso-friggin-lutely! But would it be nicer to have a book I actually myself would like to read? Probably, maybe.
Let’s not kid ourselves people. Writers are a vain bunch.
We love our own inner thoughts so much we write them all down and force everyone around us to validate our opinions or fantastical whimsies! If we were truly a humble breed, who didn’t care about fame or fortune, then we’d all just keep diaries. But that’s not the case, so here we are. I’m currently spending over $50 a month on my reading habit, and I love it. The point is, writing to become famous or important or validated in some way is just stupid. Sure, it’s a nice benefit, and we could all hope for as much, but if it’s making you (or heaven forbid your work-which is like a second child at this point) miserable, then you need to stop. Just stop and re-evaluate everything. Trust me, it’s like the weight of the world, and all of the crazy pressure is gone.
Now, I’ve decided to document the process of what writing a book is like for a first timer. Hopefully it’ll help others like me not make the same mistakes. It’ll also keep me accountable, and set better writing practices this time around. I’ll be following:
The Six Month Novel Writing Plan – Written by Caitlin Jans
This piece, written by Jans, was really motivating and I felt kicked into gear with a realistic plan I could follow. I found it through Authors Publish which is a weekly email magazine I subscribe to that is completely free. Highly recommend it for new writers.
So if you’d like to follow me on my harrowing journey: Trying to Write A New Novel All Over Again, stay tuned. Follow me here on my blog for regular updates, or on twitter for my bursts of venting/rants. Links below!