Why Your Novel Isn’t Written Yet

novel.jpgWhen we announced the start of a new series focusing on fiction writers, we were surprised at the reaction we received. It seems many of you have a novel up your sleeve, hiding in your files or tucked away in your thoughts. Reading the comments readers left, I couldn’t help but wonder…

What the Hell are You Waiting For?

Writing a novel is probably the easiest thing in the world to do. There are no outside barriers that stop you. You need skills and talent, yes, but you can learn much of that on your own. Nothing else stops you. You have the time to write a good piece of fiction, no one is staring over your shoulder, and the opportunity isn’t blocked by any outside obstacles.

Except for yourself.

Find the root of the problem. Why aren’t you writing? Why are you stuck on dreaming about a goal that could easily be achieved by simply deciding to get started? There’s no money involved, just you and your time.

And yet, we procrastinate creating that novel of our dreams. I know – it’s taken Harry and I five years to finally get off our asses and do something about the content we had sitting right there.

Start Small

One of the biggest issues Harry and I had wasn’t the writing – we wrote, and prolifically. We have enough content to span five novels easily.

No, our problem lay in the overwhelming goal of WRITING A BOOK. That was huge. It was big, scary and looked like a damned lot of work. So we cheated ourselves out of the chance to do something we really wanted to do. We found excuses. We procrastinated. We started and stopped, putting the project off for faster, smaller goals.

But the 10-minute method solved a wealth of problems. We weren’t WRITING A BOOK. We were deciding which segment would be the end of Book 1. Then we were splitting up chapters. Then we were editing chapter one – hey, I can edit 10 minutes a day. Easy.

Two weeks later, we have half of the editing done. It took us five years to put ourselves onto a path that took two weeks to accomplish some serious milestones. All we needed was to break down the overwhelming task into little bits – and to work on one task each day.

Will You Regret It?

When you’re 90 years old, rocking in your chair on that sunlit porch of the old folks’ home, will you look back and tell your grandchildren, “Yep. I was a writer. And boy, was I ever stupid. I never wrote that novel… and now it’s too late.”

Boy, I bet those kids’ll look up with absolute adoration in their eyes. Here’s Grampa (or Gramma), a person who skipped past trying because he was too busy, too scared or just too damned lazy. What a way to inspire people, hm?

I’ll Never Be Published

True. Your novel may never see the light of the bookshelves and may never be read by the masses. You may never become famous. You may never be a bestseller author. So what?

People attach unrealistic dreams to writing a book. Writing a novel is a personal goal, but the goal may not even be writing a novel. The true goal you seek may be fame or fortune. There is neither in book writing (unless you’re Stephen King).

So Harry and I take a different view. We hope, yes, and we joke about sipping margaritas on the beaches of Tahiti, but we’re realistic in that we may never make a dime off our novels. We might have to use self-publishing. We may end up posting our book for free on a blog somewhere.

Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Because Harry and I decided that we didn’t want to regret not having taken that chance. And we also decided that if we didn’t become famous or rich, that was just fine – we wanted to write a book to fulfill ourselves first and foremost.

The Pressure’s Off

What a novel thought. (No pun intented). Writing a novel is a personal goal for you and you alone. You’re writing for yourself and no one else. You may be the only reader your novel ever has – and that’s okay. What is important is that you’ll look back one day and have no regrets. None.

Take away the pressure. Don’t be afraid or overwhelmed. Start small, work 10 minutes a day, and write for yourself for the single goal of having no regrets.

There is no fear when there is no one else to please but you.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  2. That is exactly it.

    “What the Hell are You Waiting For?”

    We all have the same amount of time in a given day, it is just what we make of it. When I reboot my computer (seldom these days, thankfully), the first program I open is my writing software.

    (Although you wouldn’t know it by my comment count here!) I work on my books every day, even if it is for 10 minutes.

    A few things made it easy for me, you mention two of them here. First, that old 10-minute method.

    Sit down now, and try it for 10 minutes. I’ll bet you write for longer…

    Second, when you are old and grey, which would you regret more? Trying, or not trying?

    The third thing which put it into perspective for me, was two statistics. The first was that (on average) a technology worker / cube slave can realistically accomplish about 90 minutes to 2 hours of productive work per day, with all of the interruptions. Yet they pay us for 2000 hours a year, for maybe 500 hours of productive work.

    The second stat considers how much time the average (US) citizen watches TV – over 4 hours per day. I don’t watch much TV (4 hours a week, if I’m a glutton), but I do read a lot of stuff on the web. So I try (and I’m improving) to balance that part of my life – because, in spite of my busy home life, I easily have 2 hours of free time at night after my family obligations, and I have time in the morning too (I make the time).

    So – I can easily find 2 hours of time per day to work on my writing. That is just as much time as I productively work for my “day job”. And that is on something I love to do.

    So what’s my excuse?

    I can’t look in the mirror and answer that question. No, I look in the mirror and say “get your ass to your computer and write your book”.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  3. Great site. I’ll admit, I haven’t read the post yet. I plan to, however.

    Joy Smith’s last blog post..Maxim Magazine a Fraud???

  4. Hi Harry – I will confess that I’ve written several books and binned them. But, I don’t view that as waste – it was just practising. And I would actually have finished the last one if my ex-husband hadn’t deleted it (just one good reason why he is my ex-husband).

    And I’ve started another one. But, you know – my big mistake in my last one was not realising that the editing is actually the real writing. I actually wrote right through to the end before I began editing last time. And that wasn’t smart, because as I edited, I actually began changing the plot – a lot.

    This time, I’m editing as I go – every few pages and it’s a whole lot easier and more interesting.

    One last thing that I failed to realise about editing until fairly recently was this: Some people go on about editing as if it’s something you’ve got to do two or three times. I’ve since discovered that some of the successful novelists edit the whole thing as many as a dozen times.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..11 Star Quality Customer Service Tips

  5. @ CatherineL – I can believe your point about editing many, many times.

    (not that I’m a world class blogger, or writer – yet!) but so far with my blog posts, I would say I edit them many times before I put them out there – and that is just a blog post, not my books…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  6. @ Catherine – I hear you. I’m editing our novel now, and I think this is the fifth time I’ve done so. We’re also very aware that it’s not the last. You’re also right about being careful with changing plot, but then again, if the plot changes as you edit, it’s because it wasn’t right the first time 🙂

    @ Joy – Glad to have you around!

    @ Brett – I’m constantly stunned at the number of people who wistfully say, “One day I’ll get around to it,” and then they turn back to the things that don’t really matter. As you’re well aware, I think we constantly forget that there are more important things in life than the immediate, and that sometimes, it’s a good idea to look ahead to that old folk’s home and then look back to see whether what we’re doing right now really matters.

  7. @ James – exactly!

    To me, the only things that demand my immediate attention are a) my kids and wife and b) escaping if the house is on fire.

    The rest is up to me.

    I have a good friend who will have to figure this out for himself, I guess. He speaks of “one day” writing a children’s book, of “one day” moving to BC to ski all the time. He is single, no children, and probably little debt from what I know.

    I just gently encourage him to try it. I can’t just come out and say, “look man, you have no obligations that I can see and I have no idea why you are not just out there doing what you want to do!!!”

    We all have to figure that out. I have a big family etc. – so what? That is *not* an excuse. If I want to change, I will do it. And I am doing it.

    I like what you said right at the end of your comment – look ahead to the old folk’s home, then look back to see if what we are doing right now really counts.

    Steven Covey says to do that. Look ahead and think about what you want to be remembered for, by your family and friends. Hopefully it isn’t watching TV.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  8. Something to add that might help: Let the book write itself. Don’t think too much about it. Writing does writing. Really. You will be amazed at how the characters take over what you think is “your” story. You will soon be asking, “who’s in charge?” Yest happy they took it out of your hands, because you are all blissed out over the writing.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Writing the Wild Within – Part 1

  9. @ Ellen – Yep, you have the right of it. We’re covering that in an upcoming post.

    @ Brett – Being me, I’d sure as hell grab the guy by his shoulders and ask him exactly that. No holds barred. Sometimes people need a wake-up call.

  10. @ Ellen – that is a really awesome angle on this! One of my books has characters, who are real (my family) and the story wrote itself already (life). I just need to transcribe it and edit it. So that’s what I am doing…

    @ James – after I wrote this, I thought about it again. I may do that.

    We get together on Thursdays for beers, and I may just do that this week. It is amazing what you can do if you put your mind to change.

    I just used the 10-minute method again, right now. I have so many ideas that it is almost confusing. So I sat down for 10 with a blank sheet of paper to make a mind map. I’ll probably put it in an electronic mind-mapper later today as there is a *lot* of stuff, but I was amazed.

    In 10 minutes I laid out my books, my blogs, and my business ideas. I will fill in the details later today, when it is quiet.

    But in 10 minutes, I could see how much potential I have.

    This was sort of like laying out a framework for a book, perhaps. Same idea. Lay out chapters, or characters, or a basic storyline. Fill in the details later.

    Oh yeah. Once I’m done that, I’ll get back to writing.

    It is funny. I have two little sick 3-year old munchkins running around, and I was able to take something off my task list that has been there for several days.

    Wow. No excuses anymore.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  11. @ Brett – if you saw me editing my blog you would laugh. I can never see what I’m doing until I hit publish, then I have to go back about 12 times just to change typos etc. No wonder a lot of blogs have stopped me from pinging them.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..11 Star Quality Customer Service Tips

  12. @ CatherineL – well, I just had a quick peek at your blog (I’ll be back soon to have a closer look, and contribute my 2 cents!), and I like what I see, so I’ll save the laughing just for the editing part.

    The finished product looks pretty nice to me!

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  13. Awesome idea.

    That should rank right up there with “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

    I don’t have a new tagline today, but how’s this:

    Ten minutes a day on the path to your novel
    Is the way to get it done without too much struggle
    Editing is the air beneath your story’s wings
    Your fame may someday rival JK Rowling’s

    Nez’s last blog post..Dungeons and Dragons in Real Life

  14. @ Nez – that sounds like a pretty good tagline to me.

    PS – I like your latest blog post…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  15. @Brett – sorry to hear about your sick kids. Once they get a little older they won’t bring home the plague.
    @Catherine – don’t you just hate punctuation? I have the same trouble with my blog. But being anal is a good thing – sometimes.

    I’m not going to say anymore, because I don’t want to gut James and Harry’s blog post(s).

    @James-sometimes I stick my foot in my mouth. But sometimes I can catch a clue. Ha!

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Writing the Wild Within – Part 1

  16. @ Ellen – thank you. Yes, there is hope. As they grow, they become more robust and we have noticed that they are getting better at fighting off this kind of stuff. Actually, this winter has been good. The previous few winters have been a chain of colds (odds are, with four children, one will be sick all the time…)

    On the positive side, I figure I’m indestructible, as far as biological agents are concerned… 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  17. @ Brett – I completely agree with you about people who really could do anything because they have no real obligations… but keep making excuses! It’s really frustrating to see some of my friends and especially my boyfriend’s friends who kind of just crap around all day on the internet, or playing WoW, or watching TV, etc. etc…. you know they want more out of life, but they never get off their butts and do it (no matter how much you try to help them!)

    I know I’m guilty of this at times too (yeah, I make the excuse that I have to finish school sometimes, but I’ll be done in a few months! So it’s a valid excuse. I promise. 😛 )

    As for writing a novel, believe me I’ve searched down deep and I definitely don’t have a novel inside of me. Maybe a cookbook, but definitely not a novel. I think the biggest thing stopping me is that I’m really anything but eloquent. Thank goodness for my blog – I’m able to talk like myself, and people understand, and at the same time I can work on my writing skills and learn to tell a story with my writing!

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  18. @ Allison – believe me, I’m not innocent of making excuses. I think being aware of it, and knowing a few tricks to get you out of it, are both key.

    And, who says you need a novel inside of you? Your blog is really cool, and maybe it will turn into a cookbook. Hey, it worked for Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, right?

    The way you write is very friendly and I have enjoyed what I have read so far – it’s kind of like talking with a friend, rather than reading a chemistry textbook. So maybe a Sushi Day e-book is in the cards! 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  19. I like the ten minutes a day idea, and I might try that. The problem is that when I get into a project, I tend to immerse myself completely. I usually binge for three months, and spend every spare minute on it. Then, something else captures my imagination and I take off running in some other direction. That’s why I have five novels started and not a single one finished.

    What do you guys think about NaNoWriMo?

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Eleven Buzzworthy Online Screenwriting Resources

  20. @ Brett – I used that 10-minute method today myself, four times. I clocked 45 mins, 1 hour and 20 minutes, another 30 minutes and one hour on each project, and then ended up ticking off four more things on my list. Felt good.

    As for your buddy… You know me. I’m straightforward and I tell it like it is (or how I think it is.) At best, you’ll jog some ideas that he might not have had – spread the inspiration. At worst, you’ll have at least tried. That’s saying something right there.

    @ Ellen – *grin*

    @ Allison – Some of my favorite writers aren’t eloquent at all. To me, eloquent means LITERATURE (*runs away screaming*!) You’d be amazed how well simplicity goes over. But it’s true – novels aren’t for everyone. Blogging seems to be your niche, and Brett’s idea of an ebook isn’t bad, y’know.

    @ Melissa – Welcome to the ADD club *shakes hand*. Behold the land of hyperfocus and high-functioning drive punctuated by immediate distraction when the next bright shiny toy comes along. Personally, I’d pick up your favorite of those five and map out the other half that lies waiting – and face the fear of “all good things come to an end.”

    I’ve heard about NaNoWriMo, and I’ve seen it mentioned often around the ‘net. I’ll have to take another look at it, because I have a crappy memory and can’t remember more than it’s some kind of challenge or contest. But whatever works, works!

    (Hey, we don’t all have a Harry to nag at us, after all)

  21. @ Brett – Thanks! Eh no time for a book/cookbook right now, but thats definitely something I would consider someday when I have the time! Not yet though, I just don’t want it badly enough yet.

    @ Melissa – I think NaNoWriMo is great, if you have the motivation. I think going to some of the local group meetings would probably help for people who have motivation issues. I tried last November… and got maybe 100 words written. Hehe. It’s totally my fault though, because getting into it I KNEW I wouldn’t have the time to do it, and I hadn’t prepared any sort of plot or anything beforehand!

    @ James – I believe NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 30k or 50k words in the month of November. (I can’t remember which!) No editing, no writing anything beforehand, just spitting it all out during November. If nothing else, it gets you to write!

    I don’t intend to be Shakespeare, but I want to at least be able to tell a story effectively! Right now, my storytelling is just horrid. Even for writing about food – I want to be able to make people taste the food, and really want to make/eat it! An eBook definitely sounds like something I might want to do… someday… I just need to find the time!

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  22. @ James – that’s great! I used it myself, twice – once for the mind map (and it really only took 10 minutes that time), and then again later to put some more detail into the mind map. That session went from that into a draft for a submission I want to put in to that compilation Naomi mentioned – I think I spent about 60-70 minutes total on that one. It really works!!!

    After we talked about that, I logged on to my email (work) and he wasn’t having a good day. I sent him the text of one of Steve Pavlina’s posts that had inspired me enough for me to keep it. My friend’s initial response was a tirade against the words, but then he seemed to think about it and I think he’s going to work on his book, or one of his paintings tonight. So that is good.

    @ Allison – I’ll second what James said, I can see that you are really good at blogging (in my non-expert opinion). And if you ever have an e-book, well, I’ll buy it – I’d enjoy reading it as much as I would making the food. 🙂

    @ Melissa – NaNoWriMo is really cool! I entered this year for the first time, and I successfully wrote about 35000 words – I consider that a success, who cares if I didn’t hit 50k, I still did really well!

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  23. @Everyone: Get off your butts, you lazy bunch of slackers! Write that novel!

    Happy now? This has been an official nag o’gram from Harrison C. McLeod. 🙂

  24. @ Allison – I think, when you have the time to sit down and do it, you will find you have a lot of what you need from your blog. I think for one of my (soon to be) blogs, I’ve sort of done it in reverse. I have the words, so will start sharing them via a blog, then see where it goes…

    @ Harry – is the Harrison C. McLeod “Nag O’Gram” available via SMS? Nags to go or something… 🙂

    (Harry, you might be on to something though, maybe we could assemble a novel about “writing novels” from the comments here!)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  25. @ Allison & Brett, I signed up last year too. I didn’t want to because I knew I just didn’t have the time, but I let some acquaintances talk me into it. I did get a couple thousand words out of it, then realized that I’d rather just plan accordingly and tackle it in ’08. Which I absolutely plan to do 🙂

    The only question is which book to work on… NaNo says I have to start a brand new one… ugh.

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Where Do My Quotes Go?

  26. @ Melissa,

    No harm in adding new material for a book you already have started, I figure. Well, that’s what I did (I won’t tell if you won’t tell!)

    Hey, I love your blog – it looks sharp and your work is really cool. I’ll be back to visit and comment again… 😉

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  27. James, nicely said and very motivating. The thing that put a stop to me finishing the editing of my Star Trek novel was the show took a completely different direction when I was near the end of writing the book.

    I went ahead and finished it but got discouraged because it had no continuity with the series on TV. But you bring up a good point. Who cares? Write for me.

    Maybe I’ll give it a try. I have a million excuses and other things to do but hey, what’s 10 minutes a day?

    John Hoff’s last blog post..The Art of Persuasion (Part 1 of 3)

  28. @Brett, I have this thing about sticking to the rules, but you’re right — there’s no harm in working on one I’ve already started. Now, the question is which one? Heheh.

    Thanks for the compliment! I’d love to have you visit Writing Forward and comment over there. 🙂

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Where Do My Quotes Go?

  29. @ Brett – Well thank you very much, sir! I’m most worried about coming up with GOOD new material for an eBook… because why would anyone want to buy it if I gave the exact same recipes that I already have on the site? But at the same time I don’t want to keep the best material away from my readers, so it’s a huge conflict for me. Oh dear. Something I actually have to think about, I suppose.

    @ Harry – Yessir! Um… uh… how about a paper about the effect of the number of student visas that the U.S. issues on the amount of research and development done by foreign born scientists? Oi. Not quite so exciting.

    I agree with Brett… maybe you should record an MP3 of you nagging us, and we can stick it in our playlist and randomly hear you yell at us to get our butts in gear! 😛 Hehe I’m totally kidding… really…

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  30. @ Melissa – rules are meant to be broken sometimes – don’t worry James, I’ll follow all the rules at work today. James knows I work in the nuclear industry, you see… 🙂 I will be sure to drop in.

    @ Allison – you are welcome! Well, think of it as a compilation then, I know I have purchased a few e-books when I probably could have PDF’d the same information from the author’s site – it was just much more convenient, and never underestimate the power of the “feel good factor” – it felt good to give something back to the hard working author!

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..reflective perception

  31. @ Brett – Well, I certainly have enough recipes to do a “best of”… we shall see, we shall see! Oh and I totally understand the feel good factor about supporting fellow bloggers… I just bought something from another blogger and she charged me waaaay too little for it, so I doubled the price. Definitely makes me feel good to help another blogger out! 😀

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  32. @ Allison – we often charge less than we are worth, because we don’t think people will pay for it. Your t-shirts, for instance, I think you could charge more for them – seriously!

    Reminds me of a “worth” story – a few years back, I saw what my company was charging other companies for my services.

    FIVE TIMES my salary.

    I still think of that, and use it to motivate me to strike out on my own.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..rapid prototyping life 2.0

  33. @ John – I specifically had you in mind when I wrote this, because you definitely had that “one day” sigh going on in another thread 🙂

    @ Brett – Knowing that you’re a sucker for nice clothing, I’m tempted to start a MwP t-shirt line. After the handmade toques, that is… Oh, and yes. Please follow the rules to the letter at work. Please.

    @ Allison – Don’t knock offline content. There are many things that I wish were available in printed format – even when they’re free online – just so I can take them with me and hold them in my hands. Recipes would be one of those things… who wants to run to the computer to figure out if it’s a half pound or a whole pound?

    @ Melissa – Be a rebel. You know you want to. 🙂

  34. @ James – please do, I’d look smashing in a MwP toque and a Sushi Day t-shirt 🙂

    Don’t worry, I’ll be “good” today… heh heh

    @ Allison – James is right, I never thought of that but a recipe book is something you want in hand. And once you’ve made a few of them, and there are little bits and drops of what you made on the pages, the book becomes real…

    @ John – about your book – you know Star Trek, always parallel universes and so forth – so who’s to say your universe isn’t the right one?

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..rapid prototyping life 2.0

  35. Amy Lillard says:

    Hey James – new to the site, and really dig it. This post is great, and it jives well with what I’ve been thinking. I worked for the last four years on a novel, with fits and starts. The times I was rockin were all about discipline – making myself do it everyday even if I didn’t feel like it, and planning out my process. The times I halted and didn’t touch the book for weeks or months? I was paralyzed by my own freakin head. I finally finished it by letting go of all that. I’m happy with the finished product, and I’m trying to get it sold. But I’m keeping my expectations and hopes as low as possible. I wrote a book, and it may never go anywhere. But I won’t regret not doing it!

    Amy Lillard’s last blog post..Five Business-Builders: Freelance Writing Link RoundUp

  36. @Amy: Welcome to MwP, great to have you here 🙂

    It’s easy to slip and lose your momentum. That happened to us until I gave James a kick in the pants to get going again. Hey, you finished your book! That is a huge accomplishment in itself. Tell us more, what’s it about?

  37. PS Amy: I like that font you used on your main website (the handwritten one). What’s it called?

  38. @ Amy – Now that’s what I like to hear. It doesn’t matter how long something takes, but it’s that it doesn’t sit there with the label “One Day” hanging off it.

  39. Just wanted to leave a note to say I love that you’re writing about fiction here. Oddly enough, I just did a post on my fiction blog on the same topic before I came over here–we’re on the same page. Best of luck with your novel!

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Six Reasons Why Your Novel Isn’t Getting Written

  40. @ Jennifer – I’m always surprised to hear fellow bloggers/writers and their own penchant for fiction. It’s odd – writers generally *love* fiction writing, but somehow I never see that personal side of people. I guess because we’re all in “business” and fiction writing isn’t considered business!

    I’ll have to go read your post now to see what your reasons are – That’s one thing I hate about writing ahead of time. We had this post prepared and timestamped three weeks ago. But it’ll tie in nicely with yours, I’m sure!

  41. Amy Lillard says:

    @Harry – you guys are friendly 🙂 In answer to your questions, not sure the nifty font on my main page (amylillard.com). My lovely friend and designer, another Amy, found it and made it mine. About my book – it’s a dark story about a young woman with a disappointing life who suddenly has reason to seek justice for a family member. Then it quickly turns to vengeance. Nothing like a little light reading! I’m sending it to agents now, and finally had one bite – she’s looking at half the manuscript. Wish me luck.

    @James – thanks for the personal response. And great blogging!

    Amy Lillard’s last blog post..Five Business-Builders: Freelance Writing Link RoundUp

  42. @Amy: It is a very fine line between justice and vengeance. Sounds like a good story. I wish you the best of luck with it. Be sure to keep us updated. 🙂

  43. I couldn’t agree more with the statement that you have to write for yourself before anyone else. As a guy who makes his living writing novels, I found out long ago that writing for anyone else is a waste of time. If I’m not excited about my book, then the reader certainly isn’t going to be.

    Great advice, guys.

    Joe Nassise’s last blog post..The Premise – Your Novel’s Cornerstone

  44. @ Brett – Very, very good points.

    About a recipe book, would people prefer something like that to download as an eBook or to buy from the store as a *real* book? Personally I prefer to buy a physical copy, because when I print out recipes they always get something on them and then the ink gets blurred, but I suppose you could just print it out again…

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  45. @ Allison – well, I think that myself I would prefer to be able to buy a bound copy of some kind as opposed to an e-book they’d print themselves. Perhaps you could look at lulu.com as an option?

    (If you’re not familiar, and you might be, so if so, apologies, but they have lots of print on demand options and I’m considering them for some of the stuff I’m writing.)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..rapid prototyping life 2.0

  46. @ Allison (again!) – of course, you could also offer a choice between e-book and print on demand. I have seen a few who do that, so you could think about going that route.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..rapid prototyping life 2.0

  47. @ Brett – I believe I have heard of them in passing, but thanks for reminding me about them! That’s definitely something that I can look into once I have the time to put something together.

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  48. OH! I thought I made this idea up!!! I have five little kids and the ONLY way my novel is getting done is if I squeeze in little bits here and there.

    I’m crediting you on my site.

    Thanks for having such a great resource. I’m sure I’ll refer to you often.

    Kathy Grubb

  49. @ Kathy – Too funny; I just went to read your post you put up.

    Everyone: Kathy thinks we know what we’re doing… please enlighten her 😉

  50. Totally agree with the overriding truth here: it’s up to me. From there, though, it gets positively psychological.

    The initial post says that writing a novel is “probably one of the easiest things in the world to do.” I do understand the intention of that, but when put another way — equally true — there’s a whole new context in place: writing a publishable novel is not remotely easy. In fact, it’s one of the toughest things you can do really well.”

    Writing conference honchos don’t like hearing that one spoken out loud. But it’s true. And going deeper into the truth is where one understands, and overcomes, the hesitance to start writing your novel. Because like most things in the arts, and athletics as well, the pros make it look easy. And when we say we want to “publish,” we are saying we want to turn pro.

    Doing surgery is easy. Flying an airplane is easy. Building a house is easy. Easy to complete, at least. But the patient dies, the plane crashes and the house crumbles… unless you know what you’re doing. And simply reading novels does not impart that knowledge.

    So… do want to write a novel? Do you want to finish what you start? Do you want to stand a chance at publishing it? Then the best advice you’ll ever get is this: learn the craft. From the bottom up, from the inside out. Reading and emulating is indeed part of that process. But a smaller part than studying the craft.

    Hope this helps.

    Larry Brooks´s last blog post…Writing Better Fiction: Inside the Six Core Competencies

  51. Apolo Drakuvich says:

    Well…I’m going to be a bestselling author. A nice little article, but I still will dream and aim for the top.

    If you are going to dream, dream big!


  1. […] Internet. But recently they began covering creative writing. Today they did a post stating "Why Your Novel Isn’t Written Yet," that I recommend you read if you have been tinkering with a […]

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    […] of these people for encouraging me to do this, people like the Men with Pens who encourage us to write our novels, like Michael Martine for the kick in the pants to try a starter blog, or Christine O’Kelly […]

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