For all those who are wondering how my novel is going

‘If this jigsaw was easy, it wouldn’t be any fun. Because it’s a challenge, we feel really proud when we finish it.’ ‘Doing magic tricks isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be magicians.’

These are the types of things you’d hear if you were a fly on our lounge room wall. On Friday, I could have done with that fly reminding me of those words.

‘You only said it yesterday,’ he’d buzz. ‘If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.’

It’s about that novel I said I was going to write.

I sat down to start it on Friday.

Not that easy.

Scared-emojiImage source

On Thursday night when I went to bed, I was excited. I’d blogged about how I had a novel to write. Tomorrow I start my novel, I thought. I have the time. I have the passion. The determination. The motivation. And the ability. I don’t doubt any of those. I believe I can do it.

I’m like Lleyton.

(And Lleyton is like Adele. First name only and you know who I’m talking about. I talked about that once before – how I’d be Julie.)

So on Friday morning, I opened up my computer. I checked my emails. Spent a bit of time on Facebook. Changed the wallpaper photo on my desktop.

I opened Microsoft Word. Maybe I should look at a different word processing software, I thought. Writers say Scrivener is a must for writing a novel. So I researched Scrivener. It takes a bit to learn. Leave it for now. I’ve procrastinated enough. I should have realised that when I changed the wallpaper photo on my computer.

I opened the document I created in one of the writing courses. The piece was an exercise in which we had to come up with a character and then imagine that they’d placed a personal ad in a newspaper (woman seeking man, for example). To practise writing dialogue, we had to write a paragraph of monologue in which the character is defending herself for placing the ad. In the final week of the course, we were able to add structure, dialogue with another character, action, description and a setting so that we ended up with a 500 word scene.

My piece got great feedback from the tutor in that course. I read the scene aloud in another short course and author Lisa Heidke said it was excellent. Very well-written. The reader is thrown into the action and is intrigued about what’s going to happen, she said.

If I was Lleyton at the Australian Open, I’d just made it through the first round. (I’ll stick with Lleyton, because we know what happens to Sam Stosur…)

On Friday morning, I tried to think how I could continue that particular scene. Come up with 100,000 words, starting with those 500.

worried emojiImage source

Okay. Maybe when my character’s phone rings in front of her husband, it could be someone responding to her personal ad.

But do personal ads contain phone numbers? I google that question but even with six tabs open, I can’t find the answer I need.

Actually, do personal ads even exist anymore? I google that.

How about online dating profiles — do they contain phone numbers? I open up RSVP and eHarmony but I can’t read anyone’s profile unless I sign up.

I decide not to sign up, since Anthony is probably already going to die if he looks at today’s googling history.

I realise I’m procrastinating again.

Just write. Carry on with the scene. Edit the finer details in a later draft.

It seems a big task to make 500 words into a novel when I don’t have a plan for the novel. Whatsoever. Pantsers just write, remember.

Maybe a short story would be easier. Maybe if I could turn my 500 words into a short story, I could enter it somewhere and win. That would make me feel like I’m through to the third round. It would confirm ability and add belief.

I google short story competitions.

But I don’t have a short story. So I google ‘how to write a short story.’

By that time, school was out and I realised the only thing I achieved for the day was fear and doubt.

One of the things I admire is people who are unstoppable. It doesn’t matter what they want for themselves or for someone else, they don’t stop until they get it. There are no excuses. No waiting. And no roadblocks. It doesn’t matter what other people say, being unstoppable means you go ahead anyway.

So today I’m going ahead. By making a plan. I want to be a writer. So I’m going to have a think about what sort of novel I’m going to write. Whether it is a novel. Whether I want to write a novel or something else. And I’m going to establish a writing habit.

Oh, and just because reading and writing are so exciting, here’s me helping Maeve read her reader on the first day of school:

Firstreader

Angelique Kerber wasn’t stopped after the first round. She didn’t zip up her racquet bag and announce that it was too hard. Winning the Australian Open was hard. But with determination, motivation and ability, Kerber worked to make her dream come true.

We should all be inspired by that.

{Starts writing}

6 thoughts on “For all those who are wondering how my novel is going

  1. I’d be happy if you just write your blog every day. Maybe your novel could be compilation of blog posts/diary entries?? Actually I just finished reading a book over Christmas written in diary format which I found hilarious and finished it in 2 days (Mrs Fry’s Diary written by Stephen Fry). Maybe that could be a stepping stone depending what sort of writer you want to be – I’m sure you already have a set agenda. My gosh though, your abilities at writing amazing everyday thoughts/stories is second to none and I love even reading about your procrastination – too funny Larissa!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Christine! Oh, I must get hold of Mrs Fry’s Diary – I love a good book recommendation. I like your ideas. And I like being able to take the raw stuff of daily life and transform it into something of value to others. That’s the cool part about blogging. It’s one thing to write in a journal but another to make it into something that resonates with others and makes them pleased they’ve read it (I hope). To make them feel something after they’ve read it. Happy, sad, entertained, enlightened. That’s why I write. And that’s what I need to be thinking about when I’m planning what sort of book I write. I appreciate your support – thank you so much. And your idea – it could be just a fun thing to compile for the girls anyway! x

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  2. Love this post Larissa! You sound just like me ‘double checking’ things via Google, time for a cuppa, oops maybe a new screen saver will motivate me:-) And before I know it, the day has gone with barely a word falling onto the page. Yesterday I sat down in front of my computer, determined to write. I am 3 weeks into a course with author Dianne Blacklock and I left the class on Wednesday night feeling pumped to write. Having to submit the first 3000 words of my novel for the whole class to critique in week 6 kind of spurs you along! So I opened my word document (I hate the arrogance of Windows reminding me how long it’s been since I last opened the document…the cheek! I am well aware of how long I have been procrastinating for, thank you very much!) So my suggestion is try setting yourself a deadline. Say by this date I will have 2000 words or whatever you choose. But the key is accountability. Tee up to show it to someone or post it somewhere. Everywhere I turn are fabulous little quotes telling me all I have to do is just sit down and WRITE. I hear it, I believe it but I still struggle to do it. I guess that makes us writer’s as even the published authors say they do the same thing. The difference is that eventually they just bite the bullet and do it. Good luck. Keep going. You can do it. Shell.x

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    1. Beautiful Shell, and thank you! So can you! I agree entirely – setting yourself a deadline is a must. I think it will be the only way I get myself to do as the quotes say, and WRITE! Let’s bite the bullet. I’m going for 3500 words a week – 500 words a day. There are some days I’ll get more done (then I get a pat on the back and a little pressure off the next day, but otherwise it’s a bonus). I may have to adjust after I’ve seen how it goes. So excited for you that your course is going well with Dianne! Thanks again, Larissa

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