Three failed attempts. Some people would have given up, headed back to the poetry and short stories, maybe tried again in another decade. I did not want to be beaten.
Having ‘thinking time’
I let the idea swim around. Made notes, Gave some thoughts to the plot.
I normally write a few hundred words and then make a few scribbled notes. Planning is for school assignments but this time I planned the structure. Post-it notes were my saviour.
Dragging yourself to the writing desk after a full day at the office is sometimes hard. Spending 7.5 hours staring at the screen only to come home and do the same for another 2-3 hours in the evening. I needed a target – initially 250 words every day. Nearer the end it was 500.
Just writing the book that I want to read and not writing for the market.
Not caring about the first draft being perfect.
I stopped reading ‘writing manuals’ for the whole time I was writing the novel. My only concern was about getting the story on to the page. ‘Technical’ bits are for later.
Other things that helped:
- Drinking hot blackcurrant.
- Remembering Anne Lamott’s in ‘Bird by Bird’ – first drafts can be shitty. That is their purpose.
- Reading other writers blogs as they recorded their novel progress.
- Keeping a notebook near me at all times – ideas always spring up when you least expect them.