Four Things I Learned About Writing Novels

Yesterday, I completed the first draft of my fourth novel. Actually, in some ways it’s hard to believe that I’ve written that many novels. It wasn’t too long ago that I had given up entirely on writing and never thought I would ever have even finished one novel.

As I reflect on the writing of four novels in three years, I have come to realize that I have learned a few things. Let’s make it four things – one for each novel.

First, I had to learn not to listen to certain voices – mainly my own voices in my head. I had to overcome the doubts and the constant belittling that I would do to myself, saying things like “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t have a large enough vocabulary,” “I … this … I that …” Once the voices were silenced, I learned to put one word in front of the other. That’s it. That’s writing.

Second, I’ve learned that I cannot compare. There are many great writers in this world and it is NOT important to know whether I am one of them or not. I’ve learned not to look at others works and wish “I had thought of that.” I’ve learned to appreciate their talent. Then turn around and do what I love. Putting more words in front of other words.

Third, writing is an addiction – typically a good one. I’m hooked on writing. “You had me at the end of my first novel.” I am hopelessly a writer. Like it or not!

Fourth, the voices in your head don’t really ever go away. And that’s normal. It keeps you grounded.

My fourth novel is (tentatively) titled “A Love Story for a Nation.” I can’t wait to share it with you, but for now I have to get back at it. The second draft isn’t going to write itself.

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