Monday, July 2, 2018

A new perspective on writing a novel

Have you ever given any thought to how you actually write? I mean, do you know how to go about it. Do you set yourself goals or deadlines, or do you just wing it and see where you end up?

I went very structured with my first novel. I had an outline. I had written down all the characters that were going to be in there, and what was going to happen in every single chapter. With the second book I threw that all out the door, and decided I’m a creative. I can’t outline. I’ll wing it and see what happens. Personally, I now feel like I’m lost. Or should I say, that is how I used to feel.

I listened to one of Joanna Penn’s old podcasts recently, I can’t remember which one, and she mentioned that if you know the length of the novel you are aiming for, you can break that wordcount down into smaller and more manageable chunks. Also, if you break your wordcount down into smaller goals, it seems more attainable. At least for me it does. I don’t know why I never looked at it like that. I guess I just needed to change my perspective.

For book two I am aiming for 80 000 words. And if I break that 80 000 words down into 90 days (about three months), I only need to write 889 words a day. You can even make your timeline longer or shorter if you wish. Breaking it down like that made me feel so much more hopeful. It doesn’t seem like such a monumental task.

Of course there will still be the second draft and the cleaning up of the manuscript, but that first draft is the most important, because you at least have the bones of the novel.

What used to freak me out about writing is that I would go in thinking “I want at least 80 000 words,” and my heart would sink every time I sat down to write. Now I can just tell myself, “I need 889 words.” And I can even take it a step further and break that 889 words for the day down into even smaller chunks. It doesn’t mean I have to do it all in one sitting. I can take 14 hours to write that 889 words. If you don’t reach your goal, you try and make it up over the next few days. If you write more than those 889 words, great.

This just seems like such a revelation. I know many of you might think “Duh, that’s how every one does it.” But I hadn’t, so there. Though, that is how I shall be doing it from now on.

I think it’s easy for me to feel like a failure. Especially when that depression monster hits. So I need things to be simple and uncomplicated. It really makes writing, and life so much easier for me.

So, how do you write your novel? Have you known about this tactic? Do you have another you want to share?