How To Write a Novel
Get a fairly decent idea.
Write a few pages.
Keep writing to see what happens.
Be convinced this will be a bestseller.
Discover you don’t know what you’re doing.
Keep writing anyway.
Resist the urge to go back and revise.
Get a small new idea that might be slightly helpful.
Delete the last ten pages.
Delete ten more pages.
Take a cookie break.
Get back to writing.
Claw your way forward through the worst pages you’ve ever written.
Discover you still don’t know what you’re doing.
Get another small idea that might make some sense.
Write some more.
Discover that seasons have passed.
You maybe have thirty pages.
You can’t believe how slow and useless this is.
Discover you can’t give up.
Gnash your teeth.
Discover that you still don’t know what you’re doing, but somehow, you’re invested, even happy.
Happy, that is, in a tortured, ridiculous sort of way.
Fall in love with your book.
Fear that nobody else will like it.
Or understand it.
Fear that you’ll never finish it.
Accept that you’re a fool for trying to write this novel.
Delete some more, lavishly.
Discover that you have an entire draft.
Discover you have no clean clothes or food in the house.
Read your draft over and discover that most of it is horrible.
But it’s yours.
Be kind to yourself.
Do some laundry.
Be too afraid to show it to anyone else.
Revise some more, for ages, until it’s full.
Until it’s done.
Take a breath.
Send it off.
Try not to hope too much about where it might end up.
Begin again with a new idea.