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Friday, October 4, 2013

Familiar Question--How do you write a whole book?

Answer: Persistence!

Questions and comments I get about writing often revolve around actually finishing a book. A lot of people start writing books, but then never finish them.

I can understand. It's always fun when I have new idea and the adrenaline is flowing. Getting those first few words out is exciting! But. Then what?

Well, then a writer has to make sure the plot has viable beginning, middle and end. Characters must be created and fully developed. Setting has to be described and incorporated into the story. And on and on.

So, how does a writer get to the point of writing "The End?" By going "on and on." By writing one word, one sentence, one paragraph and then moving on to the next.

Don't worry about that first word, sentence or paragraph being perfect. Not right away. Of course, writers need to revise and polish their work. But expecting perfection from the start--or waiting for the "muse" to dictate the perfect story--isn't going to work.

Finishing a book is not easy, but it's not impossible. One word, then another, then the next. Sentence after sentence. Paragraph after paragraph. Chapter after chapter. Pretty soon you'll have written a whole book.

9 comments:

  1. Echoing Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird...
    How do you write a whole book?
    Word by word.

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  3. Aack--too many typos on my last comment, so re-do...I needed this reminder about persistence. I've been stuck on a novel idea for a while. The initial frenzy of inspiration wore off an the only way I will get back in gear is to muscle on. Thanks for this.

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    1. Johnell, I often use the two-sentence rule. I tell myself I have to write only two sentences that day. Of course, once I've written two sentences I'm usually on my way. :)

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  4. Getting words on the page IS the only way to do it! And then comes those magical revisions... =)

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    1. I actually enjoy re-writing. There's already something there to work with! :)

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  5. It is a lot of persistence, and so much gratification when a draft is done!

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    1. Yes, I always feel like celebrating after each draft.

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