I want to counter the belief that writing a novel is painful and dismal. Writing a novel is hard work, but it can be fun. I believe it should be fun. Why would you go through the many hours of writing a manuscript if it was a chore?
Have you ever thought about writing a novel? Or are you writing one right now? Chances are, if you are reading this post, you answered yes to one of those questions. In this post, I share my personal experience of writing a novel. I explain why it is an exciting and fun process.
I once heard reading a book described as having a movie playing inside of your head. Writing is a similar experience, except the movie you are watching is created as you write it. You place the characters on the stage, give them desires and weaknesses, and then see what they will do. Sometimes the setting is already in place, but sometimes the story world builds itself around the characters as they move through it. The scenes materialize in your mind and on the page at the same time. It often feels like they emerge from a fog. As you keep writing, they solidify and become real.
Many authors, myself included, get the idea for their novel in flashes of scenes. We get glimpses of what is going to happen in the story or an image of the protagonist. We feel the need to write about these images, to figure out what the full story is.
Before I go any further, I create an outline. Writing an outline, even if it is a skeletal backbone, makes writing a novel more fun. This allows you to see any plot holes or other problems with the novel before you write the first draft. Without an outline, your draft is more likely to not make sense. This will make revising more difficult. Using an outline gives you the freedom to write without worrying about whether the story will work.
Although I have glimpses of what will happen in the book, most of the story remains a mystery. In my mind I see nothing but a black void of potential. This is a part that will stop many writers. If you have an idea for a story, but are intimidated by the blank page, just start writing. First, create an outline for your story. Then start writing and enjoy the creation of your novel.
Once you start writing the story, it is like driving down a deserted road at night. All you see is what your headlights illuminate. This is the part of your story that you are currently writing or just about to write. The rest of it will appear blank (except any glimpses you may have of future scenes). This is okay. Embrace the unknown and allow it to be exciting, not intimidating.
Have fun watching your novel materialize in front of you. Enjoy the process of creating something amazing from nothing at all. It may take you months to write your story, you may deal with writer's block or procrastination, but if you keep going, it will be worth it. The journey doesn't have to be a trudge through a murky jungle. You can enjoy writing your novel and have fun watching it all come together!