I got asked a question today. (By the same friend I quoted in my last blog, the lovely Sue Babcock.)
She asked, “How do you make novel writing fun?”
To which I replied…
I will BLOG!
Hehe. Got to get readers somehow, right?
So here we go….
HOW TO MAKE WRITING A NOVEL FUN
Think hard about something you enjoy doing. Besides writing. For me personally, I really enjoy organizing stuff. (I know, sick… just plain sick.) I could spend hours reorganizing my file cabinet, my “office space,” books, etc.
So for me, I find Google Docs to be a gift! Again, I’m pimping it. Why? Because we’ve all had those I-thought-I-saved-the-novel-to-the-computer-but-it-was-slow-and-crashed-and-then-it’s-gone!! moments.
There is no such thing as a 100% reliable computer. (Or internet connection, or web server, or anything, really.)
However, I have amazing faith in Google.
Besides that, Google is easier to use than my clumsy Microsoft Word, indefinite space to use, and they save far more regularly than I remember to, without the auto-save function that tends to freeze Word up. Possibly interrupting a serious writing fit.
Check this out:
With Google Docs, it’s far easier (for me, anyway) to highlight notes, add bullets, change things up, etc. (I can’t explain why I’ve had such a hard time doing this on Word, but I have.)
For me, this is so much fun. When I’m writing, I don’t have to worry about the load time between Word windows and such. It makes taking notes about characters, changes I want to make, ideas about future events, etc. so easy to create and save…. it’s practically a slut. I get all I want for free, at that! I never have to pay for any of these services. I feel like a John that scampered off satisfied with a full wallet!
This is my play time, as much as my work time.
Everyone should find something they love and figure a way to incorporate this into their novel-writing.
For example, if you love staring at abstract art, find ways of bringing it either into the writing or into the act of writing. If this were my favorite hobby, I would start each writing session by searching for new art work, one page at a time per session. Picking one fave from the very first page of results I get, setting that as my new desktop back ground and using that picture to set the mood for writing that day.
Remember, no one ever said your novel had to be written like this…
I’ve separated my novel into single chapter docs. To help with the editing process, so I don’t get overwhelmed looking at all those words to edit.
Also because each chapter has a different flavor, vibe and focus. Each chapter, or so I’ve always believed, should have its own identity as well as being part of the whole.
Part of why I adore Google Docs is because this process is so easy… again… I feel like a John that cheated his hooker!
To reiterate, Guideline #1: Find a way to bring what you love into your writing. No matter how silly or weird, or downright dumb you might think it is, it will do you and your novel good if you’re enjoying writing it.
Keep it Simple.
Remember yesterday’s blog about talent and practice? If you don’t, click here.
I was reading an article about Writer’s Block and how there’s no such thing. The author of this article, a Robert Gregory Browne, suggests that there is no such thing as writer’s block.
Real writer’s need to write. They need to put words down like mega-athletes need to drink gatorade.
The simple solution to getting past a writing hiatus?
The A.I.C. Method
Keep it Simple. Sit down and write. Whatever it is, no matter how bad or off topic or totally unrelated to the words you’ve already written, just sit down and write.
The longer you sit there and write, the sooner the words you want will start coming.
As you write, don’t worry about flowery prose. Don’t worry about getting that just right word. Don’t hesitate because you don’t want to repeat “suddenly” in the same paragraph.
This is just your Rough Draft. This is the version you’re going to literally rip to shreds before showing it to the light of day.
If you’re going to hesitate writing the version you are unlikely to show to anyone but the most trusted of pre-readers, you’re ten times more likely to hesitate when submitting your finished 10th draft for consideration.
Don’t fear being dumb, silly, too wordy, repetitive, un-literary, humorous, scary, prideful, and etc., etc., etc.
If you can’t get the words out first, you’ll never get the chance to edit them.
So keep it simple. Put your Ass In your Chair. Set your hands to the keyboard and write. Make a word count goal. Something you can do easily, at first. Like when you first start an exercise program. Start small, work your way up bigger.
Wow. Those are the only guidelines I can think of.
Keep it Fun.
Keep it Simple.
Steady goes the tortoise. It’s not a race to win, it’s a race to finish. Enjoy the scenery as you get there. Smell the flowers, watch the clouds. Talk to people.
You’ll only write your first novel once. You’ll want it to be an experience you can remember, as well as be proud of.
RANDOM PARANOID FEAR OF THE DAY #76
That someone who knows me too well will jump out of the closet and make horrible duck sounds at me. I have an outrageously silly and terrifying fear of ducks.
And sorry about #195. I messed up the point-of-view in it. I should have written it in first person point-of-view (including “me” instead of “you,” which is second person point-of-view). My deepest apologies. I won’t correct it. I’ll let my mistake stand.
If this has helped you any, or you just want to call me out as the fool I am, drop a comment below!
I also forgot to thank D.X. Williams for providing the original link to Robert Gregory Browne’s blog.
So, thanks, D.X.!!
Thanks Shanna! You’re a doll (or maybe a hobbit) to help me out 🙂 This is a great blog – has good ideas about how to keep moving forward and not get stale while writing the great American novel!
Thank you, Sue, for giving me a reason to write the blog. The idea’s been in there, I just hadn’t had a good cause to put it in words yet. So, thank you!!
Microsoft OneNote > Google.
Sorry, but it had to be said 🙂 I love tht program and have made sure I’ve backed up everything. Even bought a subscription to a backup program recommended by a certain talk radio host.
One thing I haven’t done yet is separate chapters into their own files…and I do say “yet”. What has helped so far quiet the need to do so (and this may help those that don’t want to have 20 separate files or want to keep it all up in one document for fast reference) was changing the layout.
First, I changed the view to look like a book: Two pages on screen side by side. Then I changed the paper size to match a regular paperback. Not the small, mass-market paperback, but the size in between that and hardcover. Forgive me, but the only thing I’ve had published thus far is essays and I don’t know the lingo for sizes.
For margines, I have: Top .75, Bottom .81, and .5 for the sides. (I took a tape measure to a few paperbacks and measured it out). I also use the Calibri font at size 11.
And if the zoom isn’t already down to 75-80%, I do that too. That way it’ll fit on the screen and you can still have room for the “notes” function…at least it works like that on my laptop which has a widescreen.
The original purpose of all of this is that it helps me write more (and better) when I see it laid out LIKE a book.
It’s been about a week since I’ve written. Maybe I’ll do some today after I finish up this essay I’m working on.
Thanks for dropping by, Ryan. Those are some great ideas! I hope someone else swinging by sees them and tries them out. I personally won’t. I prefer Google Docs, that’s just my thing. I like to type it up a certain way and that’s how I work best.
But should I reach a wall again, I will give your method a try. Thanks so much for stopping by!