Karen is a ghostwriter and editor who works with non-fiction authors.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! James Scott Bell March 29, There are a lot of ways not to do something. Like the new boat owner a few years ago who was filling up his pleasure craft with fuel for that first time out.
Only he mistook the tube meant to hold fishing poles for the gas tank. After completing his work he started up the engine.
The gas fumes ignited and blew the boat owner into the sky. He came down in the drink and was rescued, but the boat was a goner. You can be just as creative in finding ways not to write your novel. With a little thought and not much effort, you can easily devise methods to prevent yourself from actually finishing a book—or finishing a book that has a chance to sell.
This guest post is by James Scott Bell. Follow him on Twitter jamesscottbell. Go to your favorite writing spot with your laptop or pad. Perhaps your location of choice is a Starbucks. Sit down with a cup of coffee and hold it with both hands.
Do not put your fingers anywhere near the keyboard. Glance out a window if one is available. Wait for a skein of geese flying in V formation. If no window is available, simply observe the other patrons and make sure they can see your expression of other-worldly concentration.
You are waiting for inspiration. It must come from on high and fill you like fire. Until then, do not write a word.
Tell yourself this will relax your mind so inspiration can pour in. Of course, those who think it wise to finish their novels do things backwards. They do things like this: Establish a writing quota. The quota is based not on how much time they spend thinking about writing, but on how many words they get down.
Some do a daily quota, others do it by the week. But they figure out what they can comfortably get done and set a quota about 10 percent above that as a goal.
By looking at what they wrote the day before, they get back into the flow of their story. And one day they look up and see a finished manuscript. They have lost sight of how not to write a novel.
Look over your shoulder. Something may be gaining on you.
To not write your novel, constantly worry about how bad your book might turn out to be. Pause every thousand words or so and think, This is about the worst piece of crud known to man.Do you think of yourself as a writer? Graduate students write a great deal but rarely think of themselves as writers.
Maybe this is analogous to how we think of other activities; I love to bake, for instance, but would never describe myself as a baker.
When you finally call yourself a writer, it drives home the fact that this is real. It’s serious. We’re no longer talking about some vague ambition. You’re a professional writer who has to produce content, be that novels or nonfiction books or articles or whatever.
This is the point of view used when a writer is writing about himself. There may be times when it is okay to incorporate personal examples into an essay, and if so, the first person will be used.
Writers are uniquely gifted to find meaning for themselves and to help others find meaning. In fact, this has always been the main task of storytellers. Every story matters to the person living it, and our job is to tell the universal stories, the stories that reveal the story of every person on the earth.
Teachers Write is a community of teachers, librarians, and authors who believe that people who teach writing are most effective when they are truly writers themselves. We hope you’ll join us this summer! But many writers write blogs, articles, etc which have more feedback and the topics and style and can vary based on audience need.
The real answer is the writer's voice. It is the sound in your head that comes out as words on the screen.