This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
by Anna Bell
If you’d asked me whether any of my friends and family wanted to write a novel before I started writing, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. Yet as soon as I self-published my novel and people found out about it, it was amazing how many would-be writers declared themselves. Now, I almost dread telling friends of friends what I do as, invariably, after a polite amount of time spent asking me about my books, I’m told about their own secret writing dreams.
The difference between a writer and a wannabe writer yet to start writing is that writers write and wannabes say things like:
“I’d love to write a novel, but I don’t have the time.”
This one irks me the most. It’s as if they’re saying that I’ve always had an abundance of free time to write. When I first started out I had a full-time job and squeezed writing in to whatever free time I had. Now, with a very adorable one year old – who has made it his mission in life to sleep as little as possible – I really understand how much writing you can achieve in a very small amount of time. I’m amazed that in Baby Bell’s first year I’ve managed to edit one of my self-published books, copy edit and proof read one of my published books, and write a whole new novel – as well as going over line and copy edits for that, too. And I’ve only got one baby! I imagine a lot of people are juggling large families, jobs and other commitments.
“I’ve got this idea for a children’s book …”Why is it always a children’s book? Is it because they’re usually only a few pages long with only scores of words rather than thousands and thousands? I’ve been pitched ideas a lot and I’ve always had to give the same answer: I know nothing about the genre. I wouldn’t know where to submit a children’s book, whether you need an illustrator first or whether you’d need an agent. What surprises me most is that the people asking the questions don’t know these things either. They’ve had this amazing idea for a book – in some cases dreaming up the merchandise and spin off TV series – yet they’ve not taken the time to do a simple search on the internet to find out how they should go about taking it further.
I could have screamed at this one. Not only did it sound so arrogant, but it missed one of the key parts of being a writer – having that killer idea over and over again. I’m also not entirely sure how you can know you can write a book without having tried. Ideas, at least in my mind, are ten a penny and almost the easiest part. Writing a novel is so much more than that; it’s structure, plot, narrative pace and characterisation set upon a backdrop of motivation and discipline to write it that separate writers from aspiring writers. I didn’t know I could write a book until I’d written two, as the first one might very well have been a fluke.
I guess it’s like any aspiration in life, isn’t it? It’s easy to dream and harder to turn your dream into reality. Have you heard wannabe writers say anything else that convinces you they will never, ever start writing?