How To Write a Novel

IMG_6798Get 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.

Keep writing.

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.

Keep writing.

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.

Give up.

Discover you can’t give up.


Gnash your teeth.

Keep writing.

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.

Keep writing.

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.

Keep writing.

Delete some more, lavishly.

Keep writing.

Discover that you have an entire draft.

Be stunned.

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.


Keep revising.

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.

Hope anyway.

Begin again with a new idea.

5 Responses to How To Write a Novel

  • Why is this so true?

  • Aria ~ I know! Wild, isn’t it? And yet we keep on.
    Good luck!

  • Hilarious! Made me laugh. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, friend:)

  • I am writing my own book too, granted I’m only 12 and no one will ever publish it but that is kind of what I’m going through.

  • Georgianna ~ My pleasure! It’s always truth that’s funny.
    Angela ~ Hello to a fellow writer! I’m glad my experience resonates with you, tricky as it is, because it helps to know we’re going through this in parallel. Your conviction that your novel will never be published is completely familiar to me, but I turned out to be wrong, and maybe you’ll be wrong on that, too. Good luck with persevering.
    All best,

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