I am very excited to have my friend, Joy Choquette as a guest author today. Joy has been writing for many years now but have just published her first book.
Joy is the author of "Epidemic" which was just released on March 31st.
So without further ado, I would love to welcome Joy Choquette to my little book nook.........
How to Never Finish Writing a Book
How many times have you heard someone say this:
"I'm going to write a book."
Now, how many times do you hear them tell you, "It's done! It's written and being published. Wow, that feels great!" Not many?
I have a confession to make. Before I published Epidemic, I wrote so many books it would make your eyes cross. The problem was, that I didn't actually finish any of them. I was a great story-starter, but I got bogged down in the middle. I couldn't quite seem to re-ignite that first spark of excitement when I got to the middle, where the story got, well, boring.
Like many people, I read books about writing. I scoured online forums and blogs to learn more. I even shelled out some money to attend writer's conferences and workshops. And though I got a lot of really great information from each of these sources, there was still a problem: I couldn't finish a manuscript.
What saved me in the end was one teeny, tiny little trick. I don't know if it works for all writers but it definitely worked for me. It was this: don't go back and read what you've already written.
Here's the process that a lot of writers use (myself included when I was struggling to finish a book):
Write what seems like brilliant prose, pages and pages of it. Then take time right away to go back and edit what you've just written.
Do you know what I found? Going back to edit killed the excitement for me. It also showed me, in no uncertain terms, that I shouldn't even call myself a writer. Because who in the WORLD would think THAT was a good sentence/paragraph/page?
Editors and writers wear different hats. Editing uses that hardnosed left side of the brain, where facts and perfection are important. Writing uses the flowing, creative right side of the brain, where possibilities are fuel and curiosity is king (or queen). Going back and forth between the two just didn't work for me, and I suspect, doesn't work for many writers.
Instead, I came up with my own process which works for me. Maybe it will work for you, too.
1. No editing. When I write, I open up my document to the place I left off, read the very last paragraph (or two--no more!) and continue the story. No editing. No going back to read from the beginning.
2. Outline, or not. Some people love outlines and stick to them religiously. Others are "pantsers" (those who fly by the seat of their pants), and think outlines are dumb and boring. And some are in between those extremes, maybe working from a rough outline or using pictures in a storyboard format to get an idea of where their book is headed. Try different ways and see what works for you.
3. Write. The more you write, like the more you do anything, the better you will get. It doesn't even have to be fiction. I found that my writing really improved over the several years I worked as a freelance journalist and copywriter , creating ads and website text for businesses. Whether you're writing poetry or fiction, short stories or magazine articles, the more you practice the better.
Thanks so much, Tanya, for inviting me for a guest post. For more writing and self-publishing tips, please visit my website, www.scaredEcat.com. Scared E Cat is dedicated to all readers and writers of great suspense and home Epidemic, my first "Green Mountain Thriller."