How I wrote a book in 30 days is simple, but requires commitment to the creative writing process. And that’s how I did it. I wrote 1500 plus words every day in November, except Thanksgiving, but I made up the extra 1500 words on other days.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). But you can write a novel in 30 days any month of the year you like. You set a number of words to write each day, and a time and you close the door to your office, bedroom or wherever and you have at it.
It’s all about the commitment
I took a class called No Critics No Fear: Write a Novel in 30 Days so I had extra help along the way, but you can also get great pointers on the NaNoWriMo website. I like taking classes and our professor took us through the elements of writing a novel and the pitfalls. She would say: “Just keep rowing the boat” and I assume, you’ll get to the other side. And it’s true.
My novel is a hot mess
My novel is a hot mess. As I launch my second draft I’ll cut out large chucks of content and replace it with improved characters, plot, conflict, theme, research and more. I’ll need to check grammar and as Stephen King, says, you need to kill as many adverbs as possible. You’d be surprised at how many adverbs people use in their writing. But my success was my commitment to the process and as I wrote I got surprised by what came out on the page each day. The more you write, the better you get. I also know you have to take classes, read books on the craft, write and talk to other writers. And as they say, practice makes perfect. Okay, so don’t stress out about the perfect part; just do your best.
I have a long way to go…
I have a long way to go, but I’m in it for the long haul. Writing 1500 words for 30 days became a part of my day and I’m going to keep at it. It’s not easy, but during that time I got used to it and now I feel the “urgency” to write every day. I formed a new habit.
You may think that writing is a glamorous thing, but ask any writer, or if you read what many writers say, it’s not easy. Sometimes you’ll feel like your writing is the worst on the planet. I felt like that yesterday, the final day, but after I stopped writing, I thought about how I could change this or that or make it better. Your mind keeps going after the fact. And that happened during the whole month. Our professor also said: Just keep going back to the page. And that’s what I did and that’s what you need to do.
Set a daily goal
Set a daily goal of how many words you want to write. Start out at say 500 and work up to more. Stephen King, in his book, On Writing, suggests you start out with 1000. He writes about 20 pages a day. It may seem overwhelming at first, but after awhile it will became your new normal, trust me.
To be a good writer, you have to read A LOT
Read up on any great writer and they all say the same thing. If you want to be a good writer you have to read a lot. Stephen King reads 70 to 80 books a year, about 6 to 7 books a month. Remember, you can aways listen to audible books when you’re driving. The reason to read so much is that you learn from the greats and you can adapt their styles while developing your own voice.
When my kids were in grade school they always wanted me to tell them stories on our 30 minute drive home. It got hard on my creative brain and so we checked out cassettes from the library. Now you can check out audio books. But it helped ease my creative mind and I learned a lot from listening to great kids’ books. So you can listen to audible books when you’re driving alone, or listen to great kids’ books when you’re driving around with your kids to get in your reading time.
I didn’t mean to overwhelm you with the writing and reading goals. Do what you can manage, push yourself and stay committed and you’ll get there. Steven Kings says if you leave your writing for too long, you lose the thread of the characters and other aspects of the book, so that’s why consistency is so important.
How I wrote a novel in 30 days
How I wrote a novel in 30 days was with the help of a great class and instructor, I set my goal of 1500 words a day and I committed to writing everyday. But it’s not done. I have a few more months work to do. Stephen King says you should finish the whole project in three months, so that’s what I’m going for. It’s always good to give yourself a deadline.
You might be wondering, well okay, I can commit to writing, but what do I write about? I’ll cover that in next week’s blog.
That’s all for today. Email me or leave a comment below. And if you want to write, get started, stay committed to the creative writing practice and keep rowing the boat.