Why Can’t You Write A Novel?


I wrote this post a few days after I finished the 1st draft of my 1st ever novel, Life’s A Ball? I’ve written 4 other novels in the last 28 months before my life was taken over by Valentina Secrets in at the beginning of the year.

I’ve grown as both a writer and a reader. But I thought I’d re-post this because I stand by these words as much today as I did 2 1/2 years ago. 

 One day I’ll Write A Novel – 29th April 2010

Imagine you’re standing in front of a mirror. C’mon indulge me for a second … you’ll see where I’m going with this soon enough… I would tell you to close your eyes but there’s an obvious problem here… you can’t read this with your eyes closed, hahaha!

So where was I? …Oh yes! You’re standing in front of a floor length mirror. Imagine you’re wearing your favourite outfit, your hair is perfect, you’re skin is radiating with the natural glow of summer, imagine how you’re feeling in that moment.
Now imagine you’ve left the room and you literally run into someone who can only be described as a divine specimen of the human race. In that moment as your shoulders clash and the force of the blow, mixed with your parents insistence that you will grow up with manners, you twist around to apologise… in that one second when your eyes meet and you whisper a few courteous words… you realise that Mr/Mrs “Sex on Legs” has completely, totally and utterly just undressed you with their eyes. I want you to imagine how incredible that feels.
Hold on to that feeling while l bring you to my point …
“They”, whoever they are, say everyone has a book in them. There are many people who say they would love to write a novel. When I tell people I’m writing a novel the admiration, respect and support from people whom I least expected it is sometimes overwhelming. It amazes me so few of us actually do it. Why?
When taking on this challenge, no matter what is promised by others, there are no cheats in this industry. There are no quick fixes or magic formulae. There are, however, people who can tweak the recipe, people who can teach, and also people who may not teach, but you can learn from anyway.
There is a vast encyclopedia out there ready to help you turn your problem potion into to a magic spell just ready to be cast. You can touch the world with your written words. But ultimately its you, sitting in a lonely room, typing away and creating a fictional world and hoping people will enjoy it.

The deeper you travel in your imaginary world, the more you’ll want to be there. The more your characters come to life the more intricate everything will become. Even the most outrageous fantasies need to be realistic and believable. Suddenly, what was once an enjoyable hobby is a time consuming, thought provoking, tears and tantrums creating war against the dream of becoming a published writer. Sounds like hard work, doesn’t it?
Maybe this is why people don’t write novels. Maybe this is why people make  excuses and never get around to writing. Well, I have something to say to all those who say they’d love to write a book, but never do.
1) Forget about the planning, forget about the characteristics, and forget about what everyone else tells you about how you should write.
2) Sit yourself down, somewhere you’re alone and without distractions – maybe a little chill out tracks playing at a low volume, if that works for you – and don’t forget that all important something to write with.
3) Just let go. I mean it, forget everything you’ve ever been told about everything. JUST LET IT ALL FLOAT AWAY AND FREE YOUR MIND.
Now put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard and let your inspiration go for a walk into fictionworld.
This is your imagination, you can go wherever, whenever, however, with whoever and do whatever you want to… If you want to jump off the Eiffel Tower without a parachute and survive you can… (please do not try that in the real world … its not recommended!) But if you can come up with a plausible explanation, lets say your character has the power to burst into rain and reform unharmed from the puddle the water droplets he or she makes. Then surely, anything is possible?
I’m not going to profess that I have all the answers in the world of writing, I’m no JK, William, or even a published writer, but I don’t need to be to tell you that despite all of the nightclubs, theme parks and extreme sports in this world, and no matter how many times the god-like divine specimen undresses you with their eyes… do you still remember how that feels after all this time? No…? Well it feels like your floating on air and can accomplish anything.
I don’t think you’ll find another adrenaline pumping, thrill seeking confidence building emotional rollercoaster better than the one you can create with your mind.

As for the rest of it…? Well, you can worry about later.

Go on … I challenge you to release the writer within … if you dare!.

I do have a few things to add to my optimistic and possibly naive self … firstly, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t. They aren’t the ones pouring their heart and soul into the words and worlds of imaginary people who will become as dear to you as your friends. If you’re prepared to invest the time and energy and emotion into them then don’t listen to anyone who is going to tell you your not capable of doing it. And believe me, there is a whole world full of fellow writers online just waiting to cheer you on and help you achieve your goal because they all know exactly what’s it like to be in your shoes. 
Secondly, don’t write for money, for glory, for fame, fortune, to be the next XXX with movie rights, merchandise etc … write for the sheer pleasure of writing. I say this from a monumental shift I experienced in my thought process this year. I stopped concentrating solely on writing that internationally best selling novel. I write for the fun of writing and when my beta readers tell me they loved my books theres no feeling in the world like it. I’m no longer chasing the stars, I just want my readers to be happy when my first book is released. And I’m a much better, much faster and much happier writer for it.
And lastly, thousands of novels go unpublished everyday. I have 5 of them sitting on my shelf, which I keep saying I’ll get around to redrafting (And none of these are the Valentina Secrets Series that I’ve written this year). Just because you’ve written it, it doesn’t mean you have to publish it if you don’t want to. The very fact that you’ve written a novel is an amazing achievement in itself. But if you do want to publish then …  welcome to a whole different and crazily exciting universe beyond the words ‘the end’.

 Erin

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