Sunday, May 14, 2017

Two profound secrets

Two profound secrets about writers: All writers are afraid to write. All writers find writing difficult.
You’re scared to write a novel. You should be. Writing is a very dangerous profession.

 (Bullfighting is a bit more dangerous but at least the bull doesn't try to rewrite your book.)

Fear and anxiety are natural emotions for a novelist and these feelings are not unique to beginners. It’s not that we professional novelists have no fear; we have simply learned to manage our fear and get on with the writing.

I've sold more than a million words, including nearly a thousand magazine articles, columns, and six novels, and I am still scared when I write.
My first six published mystery novels sold more than a half-million copies since 1990, but every time I start another book, I'm frightened.

Writing a novel takes an investment of your time and faith and your heart and soul. Whether you have been published before or not, starting a new book is a frightening thing. It’s a journey you'll be taking for anywhere from a few months to a year and the destination is unknown.

Will you look deep inside your soul and find nothing worthwhile? (Like that great line from A Chorus Line: “I dug right down to the bottom of my soul and I found nothing.”)

Will readers like the book? There is no way to know. But what made me a published novelist was the fact that I kept on writing even though I was afraid. Talent can help you write publishable fiction, but courage and persistence will help you even more. If you love writing, fear writing and hope you can do it well, you are probably healthy enough to be a published author. Because that’s the way most of us feel.

Some beginners think writing is easy for all pros. They believe published writers knock out a perfect chapter before lunch and spend the afternoon by a heated swimming pool. Not true. Writing is difficult for everyone.

(The next time someone tells you writing is easy, think of Ernest Hemingway, who rewrote the last chapter of Farewell to Arms 119 times, and on a manual typewriter, no less.) 

Many beginners beat themselves up because the first words they put down look dumb. They’ve been told, “If it’s not perfect, it has no value.” “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Guess what? It may need to be nearly perfect eventually, but it does not have to be perfect right away.

Nobody writes perfectly first time. Remember that.
So, hang on while I share my Novel Secrets with you, inside information which will lead to your writing a publishable first novel.

As a writer, you have talent which is not casually handed out. Millions of people cannot write a simple sentence. You can. You are a writer; writing is what you do. Some days you will write badly, some days you will write well. But there will never be a day when you cannot write at all. I'll strive to share my secrets and you strive to keep writing. Read my books when they come out and ask me questions via Email. Write your novel. It’s okay if you're scared.

(From NOVEL SECRETS (paperback or Kindle)

Lary Crews