So I’m not going to say this novel will absolutely be finished in thirteen weeks. It might be in more, it might be in less. However, what I propose to do is set out a plan for writing a novel in thirteen weeks – and then try to accomplish it. You are welcome to struggle along with me, if you wish.
Of course, writing suffers from the same problem as any other avocation in which you only get paid – if at all – after you finish the work. You wander around the house, thinking up more interesting things to do, or if you hit a snag, you have the impulse of throwing the whole thing over and either going off to rotate the cat, or starting another novel deciding that the problem must be in the material.
The most common lament other than “I always wanted to write a novel, but never had the time” is: “I never finish them. I just start them.”
I have found over the course of my career that the best way to overcome this is to be involved in either a group effort or one with well delineated schedules.
That is what I propose to do here. I shall set dates for having finished each phase of the novel: planning, sketching, outlining, and then milestones in writing.
I advise you to read Techniques Of The Selling Writer, by Dwight Swain.
I also advise you to read enough books in the genre you wish to write to know sort of what you’re aiming for, and what is selling (at least to editors) in that field. Do not be afraid it will taint your “true voice.” It won’t. What it will do is give you an idea of what has been done, so you’re not set to reinvent the wheel. A book that refers specifically to your field — “How to write science fiction” or “How to write mystery” — might come in handy, so long as you don’t let it persuade you that the book you wish to write is totally un-viable, because the books out there are biased towards a certain type of market which is now only a part of the real market.
Anyway, this project will allow you to compare yourself to a working writer, and chug along with me on the way to the finish line.
Want to see if you can do it?
Image courtesy Shutterstock / Zurijeta