Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Writing a novel

I want to be a writer. A proper novelist, of course; not one with reality-tv-star-turned-crappy-writer quality. If I could, I would love to have a career like Paulo Coelho, Isabel Allende, or Steven King. Meaning that I would like to be able to publish and sell my books while I'm still alive. That is my dream.

My problem is that I'm deathly afraid of the blank page - of the "what if I'm not good enough?" thoughts that inevitably creep up. I know that this fear is a bit self defeating (in my case, completely self-defeating). If I don't build up my courage to write, then I won't ever be good enough because I'm not writing at all.

Since I moved to Austin, I've been working from home. This means that I have plenty of free time on my hands to write.  So, what have I been doing? Well, a lot of stuff... none of which has anything to do with writing anything other than this blog.

I've been trying to figure out why it's so much easier to face a new post (that I hope you're reading) than a single blank page that no one will read (at least for now). I figure it's because when I write a new post, I always know what it's about - it will be about cooking, a place I like, movies or books. There is always a set topic; I have pictures to take the reader's mind off my writing (ha!), and it doesn't have to be life-changing.

A novel, on the other hand, is long! I have to follow it through from beginning to end, and there is no map. There are no pictures; no do-overs tomorrow. Finally, it has to be really really good! I can take a photograph or make a painting without stress but, nope, the one thing I really want freaks me out.

Now that you know where I'm coming from, I'll get to the real point behind this post. It is not to vent about how I haven't written. It is to tell everyone that I am about to formally start writing. Yay! For my birthday this year, Jessie gave me a novel-writing kit called "No Plot? No Problem".

I'm taking the challenge! The idea behind it is to write the completed first draft of a novel in one month. 50,000 words in one month.  Quantity over quality. I am allowed to write poorly as long as I finish the story. That should take the pressure off, I think.

One of the tools in the kits says that I should let people know about my endeavor so that they hold me accountable to my word count (so I don't slack off). Although I'm not really supposed to share anything that I've written (so don't ask for specifics!). I will take all the cheerleaders that I can get, though.

I'll try to check in once or twice a week with my progress. Hopefully by the end of June, I'll have written a whole novel. Wish me luck!


  1. How is the writing coming along??

  2. ummmm... not great :( I need more discipline!