This past few weeks I’ve been struggling. I’ve never tried to write a novel before and just kind of started on a whim. I wrote my first draft of the first chapter and posted it to my first ever Online Writing Group. It got good reviews and I got lots of good suggestions and critiques. I kept writing and wrote up to four chapters. Then on a drive out of town, discussing my ideas with Michael, I decided to do a revamp. I like the revamp idea, however, ever since going back to my chapter 1 to start over, I’ve been stuck. Writing and rewriting the same damn chapter over and over to the point where I just look at scrivener and cringe. So, I did a little rant to my group about my frustrations of trying to meet a word count, my strange phobia of posting things out of order to the group, and how I didn’t feel I could move on till I got that stupid chapter one perfect, but I didn’t want to look at it anymore. I got a lot of great advice which I wanted to share, for any other newbies out there who just don’t know what direction to go and as a reminder to those who do 🙂
- Write bits/scenes as they come and worry about fitting them in order and together when the time comes.
- F*** perfect writing. Get the idea out. If you delete everything you have nothing to work with or fix.
- Use the index cards on your scrivener. Do a basic plot of the conflicts you want your characters to get through in your story.
- Try writing at the same time every day.
- Set a goal and try and meet it everyday.
- It’s hard — if not impossible — to make it perfect, and the more you rewrite it, the more you want to rewrite it. My advice is to move on, continue writing C2 and C3 and keep going. You can always go back and do rewrites later
- Forget about the word count. A chapter can have three words or three thousand words, if it fits the story. As long as it feels natural to stop at that place, stop there.
- If you sit down and can’t figure out what to write. Just have something crazy happen to your characters.
- Treat your novel much like you would during Nanowrimo. Just get that first draft down, take all the ideas and notes swimming in your head and put them to the page, no matter how crappy the writing is.
- Also NaNoWriMo is fabulous practice for “sit butt in chair and write”.
- Podcasts, writing programs, and books on writing can help so it never hurts to try stuff like that.
- It’s not good to think too much, especially when we are just starting on our manuscript. Forget about dos and don’ts and just write.
- Keep it fun!
Some of these things already knew but I still let them get in the way until I had it pointed out to me that that’s what I was doing. I even gave some similar advice to a friend, only to have her turn around and give it right back. It’s funny how we don’t always listen to ourselves. – so I give props to all my fellow Misfits out there. Where would we all be with out others to encourage us when we’re down and kick us when we’re being ridiculous and should know better 🙂
I have a busy life, like so many others, and finding time to do what I want to do is hard but it’s also important to me that I make time for myself. It helps keep me sane and right now, what I want to do is write. So, I’ve done rearranging of my schedule, and am going back to the way I was writing before – JUST WRITING! and seeing where it takes me. It’s my minds adventure, time I let it run its course 🙂