Rule #1: (I’m sorry, you lost me…)
If all of the “How to write a book” advice is legit, then I’m quite the shit writer.
Don’t get me wrong: I am more than willing to believe that I’m a shit writer. But wow, am I ever failing to check off some boxes.
If you spend any time at all on the internet and show an interest in writing, your feeds will be full of these articles. Little nuggets of advice tossed about like confetti, each sincerely advising you to do this, but not that (or ZOMGDOOM!)
Me? I’m going to double fail. Here are some of the things I’ve been told to do recently:
- Decide what the book is about before you start.
- I should probably just stop here, because ha ha ha. Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaaa…
- Create an outline.
- I hate outlines with a fiery, burning passion. When I had to write outlines for a paper and turn them in, I’d just start weeks before I was “supposed to,” write a rough draft of the paper, and then retroactively create the outline. Because that’s how much I hate outlines.
- Decide what your total word count will be ahead of time.
- That’s a joke, right? That must be a joke.
- Always write at the same time of day. and in the same place — a place where you never do anything else.
- Two days ago, I was writing at home at 11PM. The day before that, I was writing during my lunch break. Yesterday, I was writing using voice-to-text on my phone while sitting in my car in a parking garage. Ain’t gonna happen. It wouldn’t happen even if I could afford to write full-time, which I definitely can’t (and probably never will).
- Set a daily goal.
- Woot! Check this baby off. (Hey… at least two of the articles said “set a goal,” not “meet the goal.”)
- Write short books.
- In my defense, I actually did try to figure out a good way to split TNSTaV into two books. It just wasn’t working for me. I even asked other people to suggest ways to split it into two books (they refused to even consider the notion). By word count, TNSTaV qualifies as an epic novel. So will book 2 (although it does look like it will be a bit shorter than book 1). The gnomes must have decided to do everything backwards – epic series first, shorter books later. Because of course they did.
There are lots more, but if I keep going, it’s just going to be more of the same. “You must do this!” “Erm… I’m not doing that.”
Ways to interpret this:
- YoU MUst fOllOW ruLEz oR YoU wILL fAiL. (Ok, yes, the way I typed that definitely demonstrates some bias. This is me, acknowledging that I may be somewhat biased.)
- I’m a shit writer, and you shouldn’t take any of my “this is how I do it” stories as advice. I try not to give advice, because what the hell do I know? My way is probably not your way. (I hope that it’s not, for your sake, because phreeeeeow…)
- You do you. If the book gets written, you did it right.
- All / some / none of the above. In the end, it’s all up to you. Go forth and conquer.
I’m on vacation next week, so there may be a period of radio silence. Or not. Depends on where my brain is. The second draft of book 2 is finished, and I’m going to try to leave it alone until the rest of the feedback comes in. Theoretically, this is the perfect time for a short break… but let’s face it, the last time I decided to take some time off, I ended up working my way through it. And the time before that. Aaaand the time before that…