Sunday, December 20, 2015

Writing A Novel: Dealing With A Time Thief

By Kimberly Johnson

Yesterday, I browsed the webpage of Writers Digest. Brian Klems’ article, How Long Does It Take To Write A Novel? piqued my curiosity. Mind you, I‘ve toyed with writing a novel, but I lack the discipline. I can write a blog. I can write a magazine article. I can even craft a brief for work. The whole frustrating thing reminds me of the 70s tune: How Long (Has This Been Going On) by Ace. 

After reading that article, I realized that writing a novel is like a Premier League soccer fan in a tattered East London pub. The mate can give you a black eye, if you’re not careful. I want to share some of my time poachers:

Thieves #1 - 2: Outlining and Drafting. It took me Sunday morning and afternoon just to create an outline and draft two chapters. Somebody told me to just write and worry about the grammar, the consistency and other stuff later. That sent me back to the keyboard.

Thief #3: Self-editing. How am I to replace every finely chosen word that I took all day to write? Well, I’m not. Well, maybe. Somebody told me to print out my draft and read it out loud. Hearing the mistakes is a good thing. Somebody also told me to hire an editor.

Thief #4: The 'experts' say a standard novel has 80,000 to 100,000 words. I don’t know if I have that in me. What I’m really saying is that I need to get organized. Carve out some time after work and focus. Somebody told me to write 1,000 words each day as a goal.

Thief #5: The 'experts' say the re-writing process varies: a few weeks to a couple of years. Really?! I guess I’m used to a deadline and then it’s over.  Somebody told me to not put added pressure on myself. If you do, you will rush the process and that’s not cool. Somebody also told me to reward myself each time I hit an “ah-ha” moment.

Thief #6: Listening to the 'experts'. I would typically write three to five pages and stop. Go online and read a few expert-related articles. Talk to some of my old newspaper friends. And get frustrated again. Somebody told me that I am a procrastinator. Set a deadline and stick with it.

Thief #7: Writer’s block. Again, I would type three to five pages and stop. I would watch CSI: Miami, Law & Order, or reruns of Friends. Nothing could get my fingers tapping on the keyboard. Somebody told me that there is no such thing as writer’s block. Somebody also told me to respect my writing skill and put in the hard work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember that song. It brings back memories.