Day 1 of writing my novel in public
I’m going to do something here on Medium that has me shaking in my boots. It’s something I’ve done before, but never in public. I have a process that I’m going to follow, and I’d like to share it with you.
Day 1 — Guidebooks
Write the books you want to read
— Austin Kleon
My aim for this process is to write a book I want to read. Seems simple, doesn’t it? But I know that if I just sit down and start writing, what comes out will be garbage. Yes, this is a process and I know some writing advice recommends just pouring out your first draft onto the page and seeing what you have. I’ve heard that advice.
- Write a shitty first draft
- Write a zeroth draft, that is just for you — you telling yourself the story
- All writing is rewriting
- You don’t know what you have to say until you write it
- Write yourself into the story, start writing until the story takes off
I have tried this, and my story went nowhere. It wasn’t worthy even to be called a story. I ended up with a pile of words.
So where am I going wrong? Well, it is not for lack of advice. I have read a tonne of writing books. I have a shelf weighed down with them. And another virtual shelf on my kindle.
I have tried many methods, and all of them had something useful to teach me. The last ten years of reading and writing have prepared me. Yet I still feel unsure. I want a safety net. I want to learn from a master, or maybe even two. People who have succeeded in what I’m trying to do and can help point the way when things get tricky, the going gets tough and I feel like giving up.
Write — read — write better
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
— Stephen King
Yes Stephen, I read. I read a lot. But that doesn’t mean I’m picking up the information I need to write. What I want is to be focussed on what I’m reading as an aid to writing. Reading widely is important, but I want to go deep. I need to…