How Novel

I have enjoyed writing since my high school days, and can find enjoyment in nearly every genre of literature that exists.  I have written silly poems, published articles, journal entries, product reviews, blogs (of course) and even a thesis.  I realized a few months ago, however, that the one realm of the written art that I have not yet dabbled in is that of the fiction novel.  I have many friends who have suggested I write a book, although most of them beg for a paperback copy of my absurd and risible dating life.  They caw, “it would be such a great comedy book!  You’re so witty about all those loser guys!”  Yes, my inability to find a sentient being who makes me happy is a total scream.  Although if I could become a millionaire from documenting all the tortuous dates I’ve had in my time, perhaps it could pay for grad school…but I digress.

In the true spirit of myself, I decided a few months ago that I was going to write a book, damnit.  And it will be awesome!  And inspiring!  Prize-worthy! Meritorious!

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With all my perfect future predictions in mind, I got a notebook and some coffee and set myself down to start creating my first opus.  About 3 hours into character creation, world building and jotting down scene possibilities, I felt confident and clever, and went to bed excited for the ideas I would concoct the next day.

Then a month went by.  Whoops.

I woke up one morning and said aloud to myself (and my cats), “Well, barf nuggets.  I just frittered away a solid 30 days of writing time.”  Then and there, I decided that such a level of procrastination and a lackadaisical attitude was unacceptable.  I vowed to write/create/scheme/brainstorm/research SOMETHING every day to ensure the forward motion of my project.  That afternoon, I wrote several scene outlines and developed some great character detail; “dedicated” was my middle name!

Then three weeks went by.  $#^@.

Thankfully, I was able to scoop myself up into a metaphorical dustpan and begin again.  I have been quite diligent with my book over the last few weeks, and am quite happy with the progress with the exception of one small detail: actually writing it.  I have tiny chunks of scenes written, some extensive outlining, a decent plot and complex characters, but every time I sit at my computer to write, I stare at Microsoft Word like a mackerel at Pike’s Place and my thought processes are as dry as the Atacama desert:

…so, right…where to begin?  Once upon a ti…ugh, no.  There once was a man from Nantuc…haha, but no.  Mmm…I really like “Century Schoolbook” for a font, it stretches things out to make it look like I wrote more.  “Cambria” is pleasant too, but NO.  Time to write now.  Hokay…writing…things…that…are…interesting…and… what if I research more writing strategies?  Or maybe I should world build some more?  Pinterest might have some good articl–NO.  No Pinterest for you.  …fuuuuuh.

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Turns out writing a book is not only difficult, but obnoxious, and depressing, and exhausting.  The idea that this would be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy has now been firmly booted out the window, and has been replaced with a mild sense of panic and lots of nonsensical scribbling on paper.  As happens often in my life, I’ve been humbled by a learning curve.  I am enjoying the process, and am still confident that I will achieve my goal of completing a fiction novel, but I’m now realizing the time and work that actually goes into fiction writing.  Neil Gaiman, Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, and all you other creative smartasses out there: I salute you.

I should really go write my book now.

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