Writing a Novel

clockSo, you’ve come up with a riveting concept and several well developed characters that are going to land you a lucrative book deal.  Now, all you have to do is sit down and write the book.  It seems obvious, but this is where most writers utterly fail.  They talk about how they’re going to start writing the book.  They post their intentions on social media, and make appropriate adjustments to mood and status.  They go to coffee shops and get amped up on high octane java and outline everything they’ll need to do to start writing.  They hang opulent calendars and highlight critical dates with fluorescent markers that will keep them on schedule.  They do everything except write the damned book.

It takes a lot of work to transform those intriguing concepts and vibrant characters into what we recognize as language.  In previous posts, I’ve presented some tips and tricks on how to get in touch with your creative side.  Today, I’m going to give you my two cents on tackling the practical side.

Dress for the Job:

Even if you’re working from home, it’s important to formalize the writing process by actually getting dressed.  I don’t put on a suit and tie, but I do put on pants, a shirt, and shoes.  Lounging on the sofa in my boxers does not make for a productive writing session.

The Writing Session:

I touched on this briefly in my last post.  I dedicate 90 minute blocks of time to writing.  I schedule these blocks throughout the week, and I take them very seriously.  Unless I have a severed artery, or there are mushroom clouds on the horizon, I write for an hour and a half.  I started with twenty-minute writing blocks, and gradually increased the sessions.  An hour and a half seems to be my max.  Any more, and I lose focus and efficiency.

I show up to my writing session with a very solid idea of what I’m going to be writing for the next hour and a half.  That means the creative process is largely completed – all my notes, scribblings, and sketches are on hand.  Refer to my previous posts if you’d like some insight into my creative process.

Finer Points:

I like to be comfortable, but not cozy.  I get more done in a cool room – somewhere around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  I don’t devour a huge meal before my writing session, but I do have a light snack.  I don’ drink any alcohol before or during my writing session.  Some people think chemicals enhance their writing ability, but I know for certain they don’t help me in the least.  Lastly, I have to be sitting upright in a sturdy chair at a desk to really get every last bit of productivity out of my writing session.

Of course, what works for me won’t apply to everybody.  It’s up to you to optimize your writing sessions.  The clock is ticking.  I suggest you get started.


Keep writing, keep revising, and be kind.