Writing a novel – where to start?

cFUIo38hA little over two months ago, I began writing my first novel. I had an idea and I just started brainstorming ideas. I sat down and began writing. There wasn’t a clear destination or path for the story, but after writing a few chapters, I decided to prep an outline. Was that the right place to start?

I created character backgrounds, details on what each chapter would be about, then skipped a large chunk of the story and wrote the idea for my ending. Pixar has a list of 22 rules of storytelling that I’ve found inspirational and very helpful when trying to expand on my initial story. “Rule #7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.”

One of my biggest challenges with writing a story is finding the time to write. Part of the issue is indeed time, between my full-time job and some freelance work on the side, I find myself not wanting to be on the computer after the previous 9 hours at my desk. When I do have free time, I enjoy spending it with my wife and friends, working on things around the house, reading a book, watching a movie or tv and relaxing. The single most common piece of advice I see from authors to aspiring writers is “write everyday.”

This is my challenge. When I began working on my story, I was enthused and excited. Ideas and the words flowed out of me almost effortlessly. However, the past month has been crazy busy for me between work, family and other things going on. I’ve barely had time to write – or not made the time to do it. I found myself going back and reading what I wrote and struggling to start it up again. My assumption is that doing just that, writing again, will bring that excitement back.

At this point, personally, it may be easiest to set a modest goal. Writing twice a week, then slowly increasing it to every day. It’s like training for a 10k. You have to start somewhere and work your way up to that race. I’ve found good resources for helping writers (reddit.com/r/writing, tips from Neil Gaiman), and I peruse them fairly often.

I know there’s a lot of other communities out there for writers to rally around eachother online. Time to find them and rebuild that excited feeling again.

A personal goal as I write this novel is to share a bit of my process. Maybe other writers will read it, share their thoughts and experiences and we can mutually inspire one another. Maybe someone who reads it will give me motivation. Or just maybe, the process of writing about writing will be the push I need. I don’t know if how I started this novel was the “right” way, it was just a way for me to get excited.

So regardless, hang tight with me over the next project as I work to create something new.

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