I was sifting through old emails and came across one from my long-time friend and super-author, Melody Carlson. As usual, I was eliciting her help (begging, actually) on a story I was doing. At the tail end of the message, Mel wrote: “Well, I can’t wait to get back to the novel I’m working on.” This from a writer with over 300 books under her belt. I met with her a few months ago at a Costco book signing and she made this same comment. After 300+ books, she’s EXCITED to work on a story? How does she do it?
Writing Tip for Today: How excited are YOU to work on your novel? What are some things which might keep you from the kind of enthusiasm a writer like Melody seems to possess?
- Trouble with Story Lines. I confess I am better at writing first chapters than I am at completing a story arc. Of course, I’m more of a panster, that is, I don’t plot out the story the way some writers do. But as I write more, I’m leaning in that direction. The reason? If I know the scenes I’m going to write today, I’m more eager to get to the keyboard than if I’m mooning around trying to think of what comes next in my story. Solution? Practice! Word Count!
- Trouble with Rewrites. I know a very good writer who has been driven to the therapist’s chair because she’s been rewriting her first novel for 10 years. While we all know of great writers who take decades to produce classics, it all boils down to your characters. Are they worth another rewrite? Are you using the characters/novel to teach yourself how to write a good novel? The solution? Go start a new novel. Let your Problem Child sit for weeks or months, then pick it up and reevaluate. Don’t get too many opinions–or at least don’t try to implement too many.
- Trouble with the Biz. It can be very discouraging if you haven’t attained your publishing dreams or even got a toehold on the climb. You may think that a writer like Melody can be excited because she has plenty of options. But most published writers understand that it’s always about your next book. The pressure to write a better book than the last never goes away. The Solution? Stay current with trends in publishing, networking and platform. Write your very best. And why not at least pretend to be excited when you open that novel file?
Tomorrow: Grandparenting is very much on my mind these days, with my first grandbaby on the way. Author Lydia Harris will tell us all about her book, Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting.