Okay, so I wrote my first novel. It was so easy. I wrote it in a month. Every night after my kids went to bed I would sit for about two hours and write, and write, and write. I wrote around 2000 words a day. And within a month, my book was done. Easy. I realised that if I put in the work, I get it done. It’s been an amazing experience. It’s been a roller coaster ride of loving it and hating it. Writing a novel is easy.
Getting those words down on the page. That is the easy part. But, there is so much more to writing a novel than churning out words and watching your word count go up each day. There’s so much more to writing a novel than planning the book out. There’s so much more t0 writing a novel than creating characters who live in a made up world.
That part of writing a novel, though, the imagination and the creation, that is relatively easy. Now the tough part comes in.
What is the tough part? You may ask. What could be tougher than writing the actual novel? You ask.
- Editing the book
- And then reading the book
- And then editing it again
- Getting someone who is super awesome, but ultimately quite stupid, to be your BETA reader. Because, at the time that they agree to this (or in my case, convinced me to let her read my book) they don’t know that you’re going to be coming to them more often than not with your #FirstWorldProblems about your characters lives as if they are real people.
- Then you wait for them to read it and give feedback and possibly, hopefully, some edits.
- Then you take those edits and you change your book up a bit.
- Then you read it again
- And edit again
- Then you make the change, again.
Do you understand yet what I’m talking about? Writing a book is easy.
- Then you have to start on your query letter to an agent (that’s if you want to publish traditionally). And this letter is never perfect. You just can’t seem to get on paper what needs to be said, which is PLEASE REPRESENT MY BOOK!!!!!!!!! Actually, you can say that!
- Then your BETA reader a.k.a AWESOME FRIEND reads this and gives feedback
- Now, you go back to your book and change some more
- Then you change the query letter
- Oh, wait, now you have to start writing that sequel before the ideas and inspiration disappear into fresh air, because that really happens. No jokes!
You see, the struggle is real. I haven’t even gotten to finding the agent, or receiving the rejection letters, and then looking for publishers, yet.
Did I mention…
- During this process, you start to hate your story.
- Then, you love your story.
- Then you hate it and yourself and your BETA reader, because what were you all thinking? This is crap.
- Now, you love it again.
So, this struggle in writing a book happens to everyone. I’m sure of this! I have to be, else, I would go completely insane. Actually, I think I already am going completely insane.
I ask myself these questions all the time;
- Is it long enough?
- Is it short enough?
- Is it entertaining?
- Is there a lesson to learn?
- Do I like my main character?
- Are my characters deep enough?
- Do I give enough backstory?
- Do I give too much backstory?
- Is it twisted enough?
- Is it deep enough?
- Is it light enough?
- Maybe it should be happier?
Why have I written to tell you this? Well, I want to share my burden. Maybe, that way it will be a lighter burden to carry. I already feel so much better. Thanks for listening!
Oh, and what have I learnt through all of this, thus far? This quote, pretty much, sums it all up.
Be Messy, and complicated, and afraid, and show up anyways
– Glennon Doyle Melton