Writing a Novel? Keep at It.

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When I started writing my first novel I’ll admit that I thought it was going to be easy. Sat in front of a computer typing out words that pop into my head - what’s hard about that? 

I’d been collating ideas for months and had them arranged into a storyline (of sorts). I took a deep breath and decided to get to the interesting part; creating my world. I wrote every day for about a month and completed my novel. Amazed that I’d managed it I was very proud of myself. Experts advise taking a break at this stage and that's just what I did. Time flew by because I was excited to start the next stage of my writing journey. If only I’d been prepared…

I read through my novel and it made me question whether I was cut out to be a writer. I couldn’t believe the garbage that had come out of my head and landed on the page. Devastated is not the word. I remembered being proud of myself and laughed - what made me think I could do this? The same experts that said "take a break" now said rewrite. I tried that and learned that not only was the writing bad but the story was too. In the end that novel got filed away on the computer never to be seen by human eyes again. But then came a problem; I wanted to write.


After spending a month at the computer creating characters and a world for them to inhabit I wanted to continue with that. I’d abandoned my story and needed a new one, but how? One evening when the kids were driving me crazy with their constant bickering I got hit with inspiration. The storyline was drip-fed to me for days on end and had become the only thing occupying my mind. Characters stalked my night and kept me from sleeping. The world came alive in my head and I sat in front of the computer again.

This time instead of just writing every day I wrote and rewrote and rewrote again. Each paragraph took longer to write because I kept going back to edit my work. In a month I’d managed to write a few pages, editing as I went wasn't working. It was hard to stop but after 4 months (and a lot of restraint) my second novel was finished. I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished anything and I wasn't proud but I did take another break.

It was harder to take a break the second time because I anticipated my rubbish writing. For this reason my break was shorter and within a couple of weeks I'd started the rewrite. That was almost two years ago. 

My rewrites haven’t gone as well as I expected and I’ve started this process many times. I’ve still not managed to finish. Here’s the thing though, I keep coming back. I’ve done lots of rewrites, each time stopping in the middle. For about a week. Then I come back, start again and the process repeats. One of the most common pieces of advice anyone offers to new writers is to write every day. Keep coming back, write something even if you think it’s trash - now that I can do!

One thing has remained the same throughout my journey; the story. It has evolved but is essentially the same and as I’ve learned new tricks and techniques to keep myself at the computer it remains the story I want to write. I’m not going to rush myself, there’s no time limit. I will write, rewrite and edit until my fingers are worn to the bone because I want this story to be the best it can be. When it’s ready I’ll get friends and peers to read and critique and I will release this book. 

One day I'll be able to call myself an author but until then I will keep coming back. Any problems I encounter and overcome will be tagged as mini achievements after all writing just one sentence is progress. Whatever I can do to take a step closer to my goal is a step in the right direction. Writing is in my soul and one day, somewhere on the virtual shelves at Amazon, there’ll be a book written by me, Morgan Prince.

What techniques do you use to keep yourself coming back?

Do you have any tips for keeping me going through that rewrite?

4 comments:

  1. I have no words of advice to offer Morgan, but this was a fascinating insight into the frustrations and processes of writing. I have a couple of friends who are writing, however this post brought it all into relief far more sharply than vaguely waved "I'm in the middle of another re-write". Now I understand the pain that involves. Wishing you much luck, positivity and motivation in your journey Morgan. As you say, there is no time limit, and your story is there to be told. Xx

    Mama-andmore.com

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    1. Oh thank you Zaz. It is definitely a hard process to go through and, like I said in my tweet yesterday, there are just some days that you don't 'feel' it. Sometimes that block arrives and there's nothing you can do except wait for it to pass. But I will keep coming back.

      And thank you for the pic yesterday, it did motivate me in the end. :)

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  2. Coming to this post a whole month after you wrote it! I'm working on my first novel and am always interested to hear about other people's creative process. I can really identify with reading your own work and thinking it's rubbish. Hard slog and self doubt is all a part of the writing process it seems! I'm impressed with how fast you write though and your determination to keep going. You'll get there in the end I'm sure!

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    1. Thank you Maddy. I think it's always useful to hear other writers' perspectives on the subject. It makes you realise you're not alone which really helps. If I'm honest I didn't think I wrote that fast, I've been working on this novel for about two years so far. It's the rewrites and editing that take the time! I know I'll get there though, and so will you. Good luck with your novel and thanks for stopping by and commenting. It's always lovely to hear from fellow writers. :)

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