If you’ve never done something before, ask someone who has done it for advice. Keep in mind you are an individual and might do things differently, but ask those other people and listen to what they have to say.
Today, I’m “asking” a couple of people who have completed novels, particularly within the span of a month, how they did it. I am an introvert, so I’m “asking” by not asking at all –the nice thing about writers is they write things down and leave them lying around for other people to find, like breadcrumbs and treasure maps and TVs that fell off the back of a truck. I will ask by reading. That’s why writers write, right? To be read? I am happy to oblige by reading their advice.
Other people’s stuff (with links to the originals):
Chuck Wendig. Recently discovered him, and I appreciate his conversational style and references to giant bunny costumes and working without pants –it’s obvious he gets real life.
What I got from Chuck: stop talking about working so much and actually do the work, have a plan, don’t edit as you go, have fun, write for yourself, use self care, and drink more coffee.
Ksenia Anske. For anyone who has met Ksenia, you know Ksenia don’t mess –this is a woman who channels carnivorous plants believably. Her advice is exactly what I would expect.
What I got from Ksenia: stop talking about working so much and actually do the work, don’t have a plan but do have a starting idea, don’t edit as you go, have fun, write for yourself (but get feedback from someone outside your own brain), use self care, and drink more coffee.
. . .
I’m detecting some themes, so I’ll stop with the two of them for the sake of blog brevity. I’m glad they both recommend more coffee –means I’m on the right track, at least in terms of the volume of my caffeine intake.
For me, personally, I’m noticing I’ll probably want to do the following: continue imbibing obscene amounts of coffee; continue writing for myself (a strength is that I can actually make myself laugh, even if no one else gets it –I’m like a five year old); make a plan (I’ve learned from past efforts I need one, because I’m naturally disorganized and prone to overthinking and distraction); go for walks in order to get bloodflow to the brain; stay off Twitter, set time limits for Twitter, or some combination thereof; and stop editing while I write. Those last two are going to hurt –I love the Twitter (my friends!) and I am compulsive as heck about every single little word. At least there’s coffee, so it’ll hurt faster!
For someone else, the list of considerations might be different –I would think so, since you’re not me. Maybe you’re naturally organized? Maybe you’re a tea drinker? I work best in the morning and early evening –maybe you work best at night? It’s all good. You would want to make your own mental list of things you’re already doing well and areas you maybe want to make some changes (and honestly will have to, if completing a novel during the month of November is something that’s important to you).
Then, on November 1st, we hit the ground running until we limp across the finish line with whatever crap we each come up with –remember, no editing yet! We could do this. It’s doable. I learned this by reading other people’s stuff.
Other good stuff from other people: