By Maggie James
I'm proud to announce that my latest book, 'Write Your Novel! From Getting Started to First Draft' will be published on Wednesday, July 1. It is available for pre-order at the introductory price of $0.99/£0.99 for the first week of publication. Here's the link.
It's my aim to help as many people become novelists as I can, if that's their dream. In this post, I'll explain why I've written this book and why anyone who wants to write a novel should do so. Here's why. Once people know I'm a novelist, the conversation often goes like this:
Other person: What do you do for a living?
Me: I'm a novelist.
OP: Oh, I've always wanted to write a novel.
Me: Great! Have you made a start?
OP: It's impossible. I lack the time/I'm not sure how to begin/I'll do it when the kids leave home...
It's understandable why so few people write books. Most of us lead busy lives, and it’s easy to push novel-writing onto a back burner. Furthermore, we fear failure. When your novel exists in your head, it's the best one ever written. Start it, and you risk the realisation you're no good. Or you don't enjoy writing. Or you're terrified about what people will say/how they'll judge your book. You can't fail if you don't try, right?
Actions speak louder than words
By itself, it's not enough to want to write a novel. Somewhere along the line you need to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. And that's where many people flounder. For them, writing a novel is too daunting a task. And I understand that. For decades, I procrastinated. Oh, it wasn't that I didn't possess a strong desire to write - I did. Ever since childhood, I dreamed of being a novelist, of holding my first book in my hands.
But I did nothing about it. In my twenties, I told myself I lacked sufficient life experience. Hogwash. Many a successful novelist has started young. Later I didn't even make excuses anymore. Being a novelist was still my dream, yet I remained an accountant. The enormity of the task weighed on me, however. How could I tackle 100,000 words? I had no idea where to start.
So I understand how daunting the prospect of writing a novel can be. Now, with several books under my belt, I smile at my former hesitation. It's my goal that one day you’ll smile at yours.
What about you?
So you possess a strong desire to write a novel. Or maybe you're just curious. Perhaps you've often wondered whether a book lurks inside you and you'd love to find out. But a thousand other priorities are also clamouring for your attention. Why should you set aside some of your precious time to write a novel?
Here’s why. It's a cliché, but life's too short to ignore your dreams. You’ll kiss goodbye to one of them if you don’t write your book. In addition, you’ll never find out what could have been. Your first novel might have reached the best-seller lists. Or at least earned you a side income. Touched someone deeply in ways you could never anticipate. Or changed you on a level you can’t imagine.
So what's your choice? Ten, twenty, thirty years from now, will you reflect on the novels you’ve completed and smile? Or will you regret the words you didn’t write?
To paraphrase the eminent Dr Wayne Dyer: ‘Don’t die with your novel still inside you.’
What have you written so far?
What writing have you done in the past? Of what length? Don’t overlook diaries, journals, blogs, work documents – they all count. Short stories? Fan fiction? A dissertation? Training manual? Even if what you’ve written has been non-fiction, it’s all good practice.
How do you feel about completing at least 80,000 words? (A novel is any fictional work greater than that length.) Are you daunted or enthused? Don't worry - there's no right or wrong answer. You may never have attempted a creative word in your life, but still possess a burning desire to produce a novel. Or perhaps you've written plenty of shorter material, but aren't sure whether you can go the distance that a novel requires. No problem. Only two things matter. One is the urge to write a novel. The second is committing to seeing it through. You must decide you'll write your book no matter what happens, and that you won’t stop until you finish.
Let's be clear. When you write a novel, you embark on a marathon, not a sprint. You must commit to the process for the long term. Ninety to a hundred thousand words won't happen overnight and you'll need to write when you're tired, when the words aren't flowing, when you're wondering why you ever started.
Reasons not to write a novel
Don't do it for the money. Novel writing has the potential to make you rich, sure, but you can't count on that. It might not make you famous, either, although the possibility exists. Write because you're driven to do so, because the itch won't go away. Do it irrespective of whether you intend to seek publication. Some people never publish their novels - they write for their own satisfaction, or for their families, or as a catharsis for their issues.
What about you?
Have you always longed to write a novel? In 'Write Your Novel! From Getting Started to First Draft' I aim to inspire you with the confidence to do just that. With this book, I'll be your cheerleader, your hand-holder. We’ll work on your mind-set, find sources of support, and deal with procrastination issues. I’ll help you carve out the time to write and together we’ll smash through the excuses that are holding you back.
Do you need help in finding ideas? Worried where to start? Unsure whether writing software is right for you? Confused how to plan your novel? No problem! We cover all these issues and more. Every section ends with an action plan so you're raring to go!
I’ve included two chapters on plotting and another with writing advice. That way, once you’ve finished 'Write Your Novel!', you’ll have an outline in place, one that will inspire you to get going, and you’ll know how to start. My aim is to prepare you to write your novel as soon as you’ve completed the exercises in the book.
'Write Your Novel!' is for you if you've always wanted to write a novel but:
Haven't a clue where to start
Lack the confidence
Are unsure whether writing a novel is for you
Have written nothing or shorter fiction to date
Lack the knowledge how to plot a novel
You might be:
Unsure where you'll find the time
Undecided what kind of novel to write
Worried about what people will say
Concerned your grasp of English isn’t up to par
So if you’ve always yearned to be a novelist but you're unsure how to begin... why not buy 'Write Your Novel!' and get started? Here's the pre-order link. Get it whilst the price is only $0.99/£0.99!
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