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Hey, You. Wanna Write a Book?

Here I am, reading over my book, working on finishing it and turning it in even though, in my secret heart of hearts, I could be easily convinced to keep going with it, a draft as long as my arm if you’d let me.

Once this is done, I’ll be working on a new novel. That one is not under contract. No one in the world is waiting to see it. And there’s no guarantee anything will come of it once I’m done (as I’ve learned, with others, the hard way). I’m still planning on writing it though. I’m going to work on that one with just as much dedication—if not more—than the one I am about to finish revising today.

Listen, I hear things a lot like, wow, you’ve written a book, I wish I could do that. Then I say why don’t you, and the excuses come.

Is it hard? Yes. Does it take a lot of time? Oh my yes. Is it easier to give up and do something—anything—else? Yes, yes, yes.

But if you really want to do it before you die the only person stopping you is you. I know—I’ve stopped myself many times. I’ve had to go to work. I’ve had to do that one last freelance project. I’ve had to sleep in. I’ve had to go out. I’ve had to watch bad TV. Fact is, if you don’t end up doing it, then I guess you didn’t really want it that badly. That’s okay. Don’t feel too guilty about it. I’d like to find a way to move to California, but I probably won’t and I’m sure my friends are tired of me talking about it. It’s not like my life will be meaningless if I don’t make it to California. I’ll be fine. Really.

Then again, if you find yourself talking about writing a book year after year after year, maybe you’re cheating yourself out of something good. It’s not like anyone else really cares if you write your book or not—only you do. The big questions: Do you have a story to tell? Do you have the talent to make it good? If your heart says yes to both, give it a go. If your heart says yes to only the first one, please be nice to your ghostwriter. If your heart says that what you really want to be is a race-car driver, give that a go. Do what you’ve always wanted. Try it now, while you still can. This is my current life’s philosophy so if you know me in real life and don’t see me until 2010 you’ll know why.

Starting next week I’ll be back in first-draft land. You know, the place where you keep walking for weeks and still the mountain doesn’t get any closer. The place where you spill crap out onto the page and hope no one’s looking. You have to spend a lot of time there. It’s tiring. It’s annoying. You look out at that faraway mountain and it sure seems intimidating. Impossible to reach. Scary even. But I want to do it, so I’m throwing out my pile of excuses and wading in.

Who’s with me?

14 thoughts on “Hey, You. Wanna Write a Book?

  1. Oh, I am! I’m just thinking my way into my next book, and wondering how much thinking is enough before I get going again. I’m going to say one more day.

  2. Nova I am with you. It is my SOLEMN VOW that I finish my novel in 2009!

    If I’m getting my hours cut down at work bigtime, I might as well use that extra time investing in my passion, no? It’ll be really good to think of you writing on the other coast, alongside me.

  3. The first step is to take that step and well, go. I will never forget that moment when I went from wanting to write a book, to writing one. Yes it’s hard, it can be tedious but if you’ve got the bug, and you will know if you’ve got it once you start, there is nothing more satisfying in the whole world. So try it. Don’t let the idea scare you away. Nothing teaches like experience, and the help of a few chosen literary friends. When I think back to what I didn’t know when I started writing…. well, I could write a book about it. : )

  4. I am with you, although I am about halfway done with my first draft. I am hoping the second half takes less time just because we are moving and moving and inexorably moving towards the end. To first drafts! And congrats on completing the revisions!

  5. I’m in. I have two to write, one that will practically write itself and the other that just appeared to me last week.

    Decisions, decisions.

    But yeah, I’m with you. Thanks for the invitation!

  6. Yep, yep, yep! 2009 will see me starting a brand new project — though I don’t know what it is yet! That’s the part that makes me nervous: the empty head before an idea gels. I feel like I’m flailing around in the dark!

  7. The big questions: Do you have a story to tell? Do you have the talent to make it good? If your heart says yes to both, give it a go. If your heart says yes to only the first one, please be nice to your ghostwriter.

    You are fantastic. I hope to be in first draft land sometime in early 2009. *fingers crossed*

  8. Congratulations on finishing the draft! And you’re so right about people finding excuses for this kind of thing. What good advice you give!

    Happy New Year! And good luck with the transition from revising to First Draft Land. You’re the best!

  9. I’m in. I started on a short story this summer, and then it kept going… Finally I admitted that it was a new novel. I finished the rewrite of the current novel, and set it aside to cool, and (gulp) started in on the new novel.

    At first it was true love. I loved the novel, the novel loved me, we were sure that THIS time it would be different, but then, after a while, it got hard again. That’s fine. Actually the honeymoon period was sort of creepy, all that wonderful attention back and forth, too weird. Now I work on the new novel most days. Work. Work. Work. Nice to know there are others out there, working working working.

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  11. No! I do not want to write a book! (Well. Yes, I do. But I am not making it a goal for this year. Too much pressure on top of the stuff I REALLY want to do. But I am going to be writing with you just the same! I have the first draft of our latest screenplay sitting next to me and a red pen and lots of distractions.)

  12. I am thrilled to see so many people in this with me. We can do it! I’m going to keep pushing myself like crazy to write — and write something GOOD — and have it finished before the next new year comes around.

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