Everyone wants to write a novel.
OK, not everyone, but about 80% of the U.S. population, according to a survey (by the Jenkins Group). So, it’s a dream for 8 out of 10 people. Lots of people have dreams, though, and very few make that dream a reality. Like, I dream of winning the lottery. I really need to start playing the game if I want to make that dream a reality.
A VERY small percentage of the population actually writes a book.
With the advent of Createspace, Lulu and other business models, the dream of seeing your book in print is greater now than ever, yet it is still a DREAM for most people. Forcing yourself to sit down, write words in a coherent manner, with a well-paced plot and compelling characters is only the first step. Very few people make the jump from wanting to write a book to putting words on the page.
Even after you write the book, there’s still editing, rewriting, proofing, querying, market research, and . . . well, the list is nearly never ending.
Writing takes dedication, perseverance and a bit of insanity.
Dedication? I spent nearly all of last summer holed up in the house with my laptop making changes to a manuscript requested by editors (my publishing house had several editorial changes, so I made changes for each editor). Yup, that’s dedication for me. I’d much rather have been floating in the pool drinking a cold one and reading the latest Tawna Fenske book.
Perseverance? Yeah, all those changes I made for that manuscript? I jumped through all kinds of hoops for that publisher. I polished, edited, rewrote . . . it was a long, grueling process. Finally, my editor emailed with a positive email, saying she loved the changes I made but the manuscript had to go through a series screener (because the manuscript was submitted for an ongoing series) and that I would hear back in a couple of weeks. The following day I received a brief form email. Rejected.
Cue the sad trombone <SIGH>.
Which left me dejected.
That’s where perseverance comes in. I polished that manuscript more, removed all references to the series it was written for, and published the book.
Insanity? Yeah, that applies to me, too. Characters chatter in my head all the time, sometimes at rather inopportune times. When I’m deep in writing mode, everything else falls to the wayside. Laundry? If it passes the sniff test, I’m good to go. Hygiene? Yeah, I’ve been known to wear the same t-shirt through the entire first draft process. It can stand up on its own by the end of the month, but by golly, I’m not going to mess with my groove once the words start flowing.
On a personal note, I’m focusing on getting fit and have been doing the Couch to 5K program. As I run, I realize that it’s a very similar process to learning to write. Going from Couch to 5K is like going from Blank to 50K. 50K is what it takes to win National Novel Writing Month. If you can write a first draft of 50K words, that’s a darned good start. It gives you the bones of a story that you can edit, rewrite and polish.
So, that’s what I shoot for every time I sit down to start a new novel.
I’ve done it. So can you.
If you want to make your dream a reality, join my list and we’ll make it happen together.