How to write a novel  

How to write a novel  

There’s a process?

What process?

I’ve read a lot of books on writing and listened to a lot of writers explain their process for writing a novel. Many explain how very disciplined they are and how they get up every morning at 5:00am to write for three or four hours before going to work at their day job. Others, I think, invent similar answers just to give an impressive response to the frequently asked question, “What’s your process?”

The most helpful advice I’ve received was the suggestion to do whatever works.

I’m not good at routine. I thrive on variety. On any road trip or short excursion I hate to return by the same route, I’ve already been there! So the advice to write for a few hours at the same time every day doesn’t work for me. It’s a big deterrent. I need to be in the mood to be inspired and motivated to create something new and then find a way to get my brain engaged on the project.

I do have some reliable tactics to get past the obstacles and the ongoing distractions that enable me to procrastinate. I find it helps to first warm up my brain and my creative juices with a critical review of the day’s news articles, then check off a few to-do items on my list of writing projects – short stories, blog posts or newsletters, and settle into my quiet, private writing space to read the last few chapters recently written or revised before getting to work on the next ones.

Writing a novel is like a marathon, maybe without a finish line or a timer on your effort, but it does require commitment, patience and persistence, and a lot of hours of hard work in preparation and in grinding it out. Like a marathon. That’s a relatable and relevant analogy for me after running nine marathons and writing four (almost five) novels. I’m done with marathons, but I still have lots more writing to do.

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. Good luck with your own reading and writing.

Enjoy the process!

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