Wednesday, September 14, 2011


So for the last few weeks I have been working on my next novel. I definitely need a break after that extensive rewrite, so it was time to work on a new project.

The idea came easily. The characters too. It's just this darned plot that I seem to be having troubles with. At first I was shocked, and then I thought something was wrong with me.

And then I realized it's just part of writing. We tend to forget how hard certain parts of the process are after we've moved on. Or we approach a new project with a "this time it will be magical" frame of mind. I know I do. I get so excited about my idea and the characters that when I stall out, it baffles me. 

"What a second? Wait...this is starting to feel like...yes, yes that's it...WORK."

But it is. As fun as writing can be, there's still a process. Even if you're a panster you still have to come up with the idea. You have to think about the characters, and then figure out how to start the book. Even if you sail through this, you're bound to get to a part in the middle where things start to feel like work. 

But that's as normal as feeling like your writing is blessed by the Book Fairies (they do so exist, and you can't tell me otherwise). If everyone who could make coherent sentences could write a book, there would be tons of them.

Funny slightly off topic observation: there are a lot of people out there who don't know how to write well.

I am not talking about perfect grammar and complex sentences. I am talking about writing a short paragraph that puts their ideas together in a coherent fashion that reads better than something a third grader could write. 

I noticed this when I started getting emails from people (not my writer friends, so no one out there feel guilty). These people from my everyday life know how to speak proper English. They are relatively intelligent, educated people. Yet when I received an email from them, it sounded like something a third grader might write.

Some of the mistakes are just my pet peeves. Over use of text-speak (lots of LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! for example). Not capitalizing the first word in a sentence. Cramming the sentences together without rhyme or reason. 

But most of it was the way those sentences read. I don't know how else to describe it, other than it looked like something you'd write in third grade. At first I thought these people were just being lazy, but then it dawned on me: they didn't write a lot in their daily life. These are people who didn't have to write something longer than a grocery list in years, and now suddenly there's this magical email thing. 

And just because you can talk well, doesn't mean you're going to automatically be able to write well. 

All of this is to remind us that writing is a skill. It truly is. It's a skill we hone every time we write blog posts about Book Fairies, every time we think about our character's conflict, every time we, you know, write. 

P.S. I have valiantly checked, and rechecked, this post for typos. I always do, but since I was talking about writing skill it seemed extra important to make sure I didn't do something silly. Yet, it is early and I am so very tired. So I apologize for any typos in this post, and shall submit myself to the Grammar Police if there are any typos that escaped the purge. 


  1. Nice post.
    I'm in the throes of revisions on my WIP and I have completely stalled. And, wow, yeah, it does feel a lot like WORK. I've played with the idea of starting another project, but I know that in a way will be another form of WORK, like you said.

    When we're staring opposition in the face, it isn't fun, but when we overcome it we can look back and say: "I learned something from that, and I'm better for it"... Then we move on to the next lesson... And that goes for more than just Writing. Best of luck!

  2. Lindz: Yes, there's always the allure of working on something else. But the sad thing is yes, that will evuntually feel like work, and you're not really going to want to go back to the original WIP. Despite how much you loathe it, you have the most enthusiasm you will for editing it now. At least, that's how my mind rolls.

    But you're right, it's all a learning process. You take the knowledge and it makes you stronger!

    Thanks for commenting!