So you’ve decided to write a novel. Great!
Where the hell do you start?
That’s easy—you start at the beginning, of course. Not the beginning of the novel, but the beginning of your process, which you’re going to discover over the course of creating this thing.
1. Get Started
This is the part of the creative journey that will never change for any writer, no matter what. All creative projects—a novel, short story, novella, serial work—they all have a beginning. Every writer has to take that first step into the unknown. That’s scary! There’s a whole world of prose waiting to be written, and you’re staring at all of it floating there in your head, just waiting to be put down on the page. Trust me, you’re not alone. All of us, regardless of status or ability, grapple with this part of writing each time a new work begins.
So how do you combat this? What are some of the ways you can avoid the paralyzing fear of getting down to the work that needs to be done?
There’s a simple answer, and a complex one. I’ll get the simple one out of the way first.
BUTT IN CHAIR. WORDS ON PAGE. That’s all there is to it, and there’s no substitute for that basic tenet of writing. If you take nothing else away from my advice, I want you to know that is the true secret to writing. Everything else is just fluff designed to make that part easier.
But, I promised you a more complex answer, and a complex answer you shall have. Here goes!
Find something you’re passionate about.
Don’t worry about the quality of the idea.
Pick something to latch onto.
Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Be critical, but don’t be cynical.
That’s it. I’ll go into each point in depth later on.