On Writing My First Novel

Writing is a trip.

A trip to heaven or a trip to hell is solely dependent on the mood you find yourself in at any particular moment.  I’ve been cranking out words for the past week so I can start with submissions to the various publishing houses I feel would suit my book best.  The requirements are stringent and so it’s not just been fiction I’ve been writing about.  I’ve had to write out a 300 – 500 word synopsis, the target market I think my book speaks to and a blurb about myself.  Trust me, it’s been WORDS this entire week.

As a new fiction writer, I joined different writing spaces hoping to learn as much as I could from seasoned writers and/or authors (yes, there is a difference) so I wouldn’t necessarily go through the same pitfalls that they had faced, and also to pick up a tip or seven.  This was me trying to be diligent.

What happened was me finding out bright and early that all the authors that I’d followed and made ‘friends’ with played by different rules because in as much as we were all writers, the countries we were in did not follow the same set.  This was a huge womp, womp, wooomp. The great things though is that although the rules were not the same, the writers curses and regular heebeejeebeez are.  The three that I learnt the quickest were:

To write well, you need to read a sh!t load

And not just any book.  You need to read books that are in the genre you’re writing in. Trust me when I say I thought this was a myth. I mean, my story is different right? Right, however there are certain things that make up a genre and if all the boxes are not ticked then it may leave your book in no-mans-land and publishers don’t believe in books being Switzerland.  The other thing is that it helps a lot with honing in on your own style. You get to discern what you like and don’t like quicker and editing your work becomes simpl-er. Ps: Editing your work is never simple. It’s excruciating to have to delete a chapter or a paragraph because it no longer fits into the overall theme of the book. Those words become your babies! Never-the-less, it’s a struggle almost every writer goes through and I’m not going to kill myself just to make a point.  Still, it’s still new and strange to me,this refueling with words so that I may produce more.

Writers have a LOT of insecurity regarding their work

There are pages upon pages upon pages on just this point.  There are whole blogs/websites/workshops/seminars/podcasts/instagrams/twitter-pages on this single topic.  Believe me people, the threat is real. And I feel and have felt and will in the future feel it again.  I have the same problem with my songs and this blog, so what really makes me think I won’t have it with my novel? No really, I’m asking myself. This insecurity is so deep though.  It can have me procrastinating for days on end because what I thought was superb 24 hours ago has me feeling all sorts of typa. When the writers I follow say write anyway, I should better listen because I’ve literally gone weeks without touching my manuscript due to paralysis from deeming myself unworthy. As I kick that bull to the curb – today.

Facebook, twitter, whatsapp, bae, sleep, music, the home channel WILL waste your time

No two ways about it! Writing everyday is like that thing you wanna do, but is so hard to start to do and yet you feel so good after doing it. Some people call that gym.  You need to make time for writing.  It needs to become your top priority otherwise a whole day can evaporate with you being on the phone having woken up at 5am to write, ready with pen and paper or laptop and all. If you need to tell bae to call back after an hour or three, then make that happen. Bae is with a writer, we’re weird, they should understand.

I spent the entire day reading today and then wrote about a thousand brilliant words towards my novel.  I hardly spoke to anyone. It was a very productive day.

May the writing gods continue to be with me tomorrow.

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