So You Want To Write A Novel

If someone had told me two months ago that I would be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I would have accused them of being insane. Back in college, when I had friends who participated, I thought they were insane. But here I am, planning my novel.

I don’t remember what sparked it exactly. While watching a TV character start to write her memoir, did I think, “Hey, I want to write a book”? After reading an amazing series of books and LOVING them, did I think, “I want to write something this awesome”? Possibly it’s a combination of both, and other things as well.

Writing has been part of my life for as far back as I can remember. When I was a kid, I made up stories. When I was a teenager, I wrote bad poetry. When I went to college, I wrote slightly better (but still bad) poetry, as well as some cringe-worthy self-insert stories to entertain myself and my friends. I even started out as an English major, with hopes to either become an editor or a teacher. Unfortunately, after a miserable year of depressingly uninspiring classes and too many books that I genuinely hated, I switched to Graphic Design (and I don’t even do that for a living). The switch put an end to any desire I had to work with books and publishing, because I actually hated reading for a while, until I rediscovered how amazing it is when it’s not forced upon me. But throughout it all, I kept diaries, journals, and a personal blog. Despite occasional periods of time in which I felt like I had nothing to say, I’ve always written about something, for some purpose.

So I guess wanting to write a book makes sense. And it also doesn’t. Honestly, the concept is terrifying. What if I fail? What if don’t finish? What if I burn out? I’ve honestly never finished a story in my life, so that could totally happen. What if I’m no good? *insert every negative thought here*

I’ve tried to argue myself into not being afraid of trying this, but what can I say? I’m still freaked out.

My writing process doesn’t help. It currently goes a little something like this:

“I have NO ideas! I’m crap! I should just stop now!”

*awesome idea comes along*

“I am on top of the world!!!!”

*lots of crappy ideas that won’t work with what I’ve already come up with*

“See? I’m totally awful at writing. I should give up.”

*some time elapses*

“I wonder how x works? Or why x happened in history?”


*awesome idea comes along*

“I’m the best ever!!!”

…And so on.

But even so, I’ve got some really awesome ideas, and I’m excited to work on them! My next mission is to plan. PLAN PLAN PLAN!!! I need to work out a cohesive structure for my novel, because going in blind (as I did in many of my previous stories) has never worked out very well for me. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to make it to the end this time!


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