The problem with writing a novel...
Instead of writing about writing, I decided it was time to give actual writing a go. By that I mean writing a book, from beginning to end, with all those complicated aspects like character, internal and external conflict, craft, context and whatever else goes into the mix of a good story.
Turns out, writing about writing is much easier than actually writing. Much easier said than done.
It's not that I haven't written before - I've written tons of blog posts, crime-based short stories for magazines and even a movie review or two. Somewhere along the line I've written (and produced) a children's meditation CD.
But every time I decide to give a novel a go I become completely incapable of stringing two coherent sentences together. I get flustered, confused and eventually, stuck.
So what is so difficult about writing a story?
Well, where do I begin? How much time do you have to read this blog post?
I don't know if others find it difficult. I do know, however, that different writers struggle with different aspects of the journey, and it's good to keep that in mind because looking at the end result - the bestseller - makes it easy to forget that the author might have struggled along the way as well.
But for me, the really difficult part isn't coming up with ideas (I have tons of those), it's not the craft or writers block or lack of time or fear or any of those.
It's the fact that I can't "see" my story. I'm not the kind of person who can hold a large amount of detail in my mind at the same time and make it all come together. That's why I'm comfortable with writing blog posts and short stories - for me, it's less complicated. I can "see" in my mind what I've written, where I'm going with it and where I want to end with it. I can hold it all together while I work on the individual aspects.
Some useful information that is helping me, and may be of help to you too.
Like many other writers, when I"m stuck, I turn to some useful procrastination. In this case, I procrasti-searched. I surfed the net hoping to find that elusive "write-by-numbers" guide to writing an award winning book that many of us are looking for (ha - if only there was such a thing!)
While I haven't found the "How to write your bestseller in 10 easy steps" guide, I did come across some really interesting websites that I can share with you - since I can't offer you any useful advice on how to write an actual book, except, perhaps, that big sheets of paper and an endless supply of tea seem to be helpful. And chocolate cake. That's essential - even if for no other reason than to give yourself time to think while engaging in a thoroughly enjoyable activity.
Here they are:
- http://danieljoseolder.net/ (I listened to his class on Skillshare about character, conflict, context and craft in storytelling. Very good.)
- https://www.jerryjenkins.com/how-to-outline-a-novel/ (This one talks about teh distinction between Outliners and Pantsers - those of us who write by the seat of our pants.)
- http://www.nzwriterscollege.co.nz/ (They have a college in South Africa and the UK as well, and it is due to the writing courses that I did with them a few years back that my first magazine articles and crime based short stories got published. Worth checking it out if you're interested in writing courses.)
I hope this list of useful resources helps you if you're stuck anywhere on your writing path. In fact, I hope it helps me too! And if you know if any other good resources, please share them below.
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