How to Complete a Novel
Quick, how many movies can you think of where the main character is a writer who goes someplace isolated in hopes of getting something written? Three that came to my mind are Deadline, Half Light, and The Shining. How many people do you know in real life who have an isolated cabin or entire hotel they can borrow when they need a little space to write?
I couldn’t think of any, either.
I can think of writers who have come up with creative solutions to the problem of finding a physical space to use as a writing area. I have heard of writers who use the tiny balcony on their apartment, writers who journey to a favorite coffee shop, writers who rent a space in a communal writer’s loft, and writers who are fortunate and persistent enough to get accepted to a colony for uninterrupted months of writing. I have my own ‘office’ now, but there was a time when I did not because my husband and I lived in a small apartment. My solution was not to find someplace outside of our apartment, but to use the space we did have at different times. Like timing when to leave the house in order to miss rush hour, I timed my writing sessions to occur when I could take over the shared spaces in our house and treat them as my own. It was an effective solution, although I still harbor Yaddo dreams. That might even more awesome than having an entire haunted hotel in a remote and snowy location!
Physical space is not the only external condition that must be satisfied before you can write successfully. It is one of the most obvious, though, and can present a real obstacle to getting started on and completing your novel. The fifth suggestion I can make on how to complete a novel is :
Resources come in many forms: space, time, software, human, and financial. If you know that you’ll need to do most of your writing on the subway, then you have identified you need a portable writing device which, yes, can be as fancy as pen and paper. If you know that you can’t stop yourself from surfing the net during your writing time, you’ve identified that you either need a writing spot with no connectivity or a program that locks you out of the internet. If you know that you won’t have time to mow the lawn and do your writing, you’ve identified that you need to ask for help. When it comes to publishing, figure out what funds you will need. Most importantly, identify the people you can go to for encouragement or a swift kick in the pants, because you’ll need both at some point or another when writing your novel.
Check back soon for another post in my ‘How to Complete A Novel’ series!