Craft of writing

Someone recently asked me what it’s like write… the physical process.   Interesting question for sure.   When I first started, I kept this huge stack of 3×5 file cards, each with an idea, topic, character, I wanted to include in my story.  I shuffled that stack of cards around for over five years, each time thinking I was ready to start writing my first book.   Each time I sat down to write I ended up walking away in frustration, not happy at what I saw going onto the page.  In those days I belonged to The Writer’s Book Club, and one of my monthly selections that I forgot to cancel before arriving was a tiny hardcover called “Writing Your First Novel”.  That silly little book contained something that changed my life.  It told me that if I really wanted to write a book that I had to write everyday, no exceptions.  It told me to make a contract with myself that I would write X-pages per day, come hell or high water – and that I could throw them all away the next day and start over again, but I had to write.   Then it told me the most important thing of all – don’t worry about where you’re going next week or next month with the story, just worry about and write today what you feel.

Twenty-eight days later I had my first book manuscript stacked on the table.   Of course it ended up getting jammed into a drawer for five or ten years after receiving countless rejection letters, but I had a book.

So to answer the question:  If you want to write a book, write it, don’t talk about doing it.  Make a commitment to write every single day.  Set your minimum low – maybe only three pages – but allow yourself to go over that … and you will.   Things will start to pour out of you and you’ll be as amazed as I was.   Write for yourself, no one else.  Tell a good story.  Make your characters live and breathe.


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