The moment I stated that you could write your novel in six months you might have gotten either angry, scared or defensive. If any of those emotions were your response it is probably because you’ve been struggling with your novel or idea to write a novel for years. It may have felt like I was judging you for your lack of ambition. Or maybe you thought, what if I try and I fail? Is the dream over? Dreams can often become a part of our self-description. They are the things that help us believe that “this is not the totality of my life – there is more – there has to be more.” I believe dreams may sleep, but they never truly die.
I took a creative writing class in college. One day the professor said, “listen none of you will ever be Stephen King. Our focus is mechanics not style.” Apparently she missed the catalog description for Creative Writing 101. I left the class and never went back. I saw no point in spending 14 weeks with a dream killer. I’m not a dream killer. The six months deadline is true and accurate. You can do it. You have a story to tell. Still…
Before we get started lets dispense the four big arguments you are making right now in your talented but stubborn brain.
1. It’s not enough time – sure it is and we can prove that through simple math. A novel, and by that I mean one that meets the standards of a printed book, is about 75 thousand words. If you write 625 words a day, five days a week you will reach 75 thousand words in six months. 625 words is a walk in the park if you like what you are writing. Heck I make to-do lists that are longer than that.
2. But what about all the editing and fine tuning and blah blah blah? Yes those things are important once you have completed your book. Sure, Dean Koontz doesn’t leave a page until it is perfect, but he still churns out at least one book a year. I’m against this method by the way. You’ll never think the page is perfect and you’ll wind up spending a year on the prologue. Write the entire thing first – fix later.
3. A novel written in six months will be trash. No it won’t, at least not if you have a good story to tell and a passion to tell it. Those are the two critical elements and neither is related to “time.” The more time you spend not writing the more likely the reason is because the story is boring or you’re bored with the story.
4. I don’t have that kind of time. You don’t have time to write 625 words a day? I bet you can write 625 words in a half hour. What you don’t have is an idea of what those 625 words should be. That’s because you are caught up in mechanics, purple prose or perhaps more notes and research. But let’s say it has something to do with your busy life and unbearable responsibilities. We’ll just forgo any discussion of how Stephen King wrote while at his second job in a laundry mat or JK Rowlings need to write on trains or anywhere else a single mom got a chance to write. Maybe those are just fabrications. I wrote You and Me against the World in six months. I wrote All Our Foolish Schemes in five. They are 93k and 80k words each. Are they trash? Well you could buy one and see for yourself. Or you could read the reviews they received. Or I can send you a free PDF and you could judge for yourself.
I obviously have a lot of time on my hands. Except I don’t. I’m a Sr VP for an International firm, I have five children, two blogs, and a website…I’m also master prestige on Call of Duty Black Ops II (that’s time consuming LOL). The point is that “time” is irrelevant to writing your novel. Passion and motivation are critical. You have to love the story or you should not bother writing it or even think about writing it. If you don’t love it then you won’t want to spend time with it. If you don’t love it you’ll mistreat it or it will get lost somewhere in the story and you’ll ramble through thousand of words trying to find it again. And if you don’t love it then no one else will either and you’’ll have 75 thousand words of Yuk. But let’s talk a little bit more about the time you don’t have…
Part 3: Nothing Happens for a Reason
Categories: Right the Novel!