I hear all the time, "I always wanted to write a book" when I'm out and about. It reminds me of me. For years I said these exact words, and then one day I decided to take the plunge.
For those of you who have heard yourself say these words, I've got a piece of advice for you - go for it. But remember one thing, it's not as easy as it looks. It is a lot of hard work and usually takes at least 4 years to finish your first book.
Why do I say that? Well, because it's true. After you manage to finish your rough draft, then the hard work begins. If you don't have a degree in creative writing, and are actually good at it, then you need to get serious about turning that manuscript into a novel.
You have revisions to do, and the only way to master your rewrites is to know what your doing. I hired a private coach and worked with her for 9 months, then I started going to her classes. I also joined a writers group to surround myself with other writers and to learn even more about the craft.
See, you need to be working on your craft continuously. Even if you have a degree, it doesn't mean you know how to write a novel that grabs the readers and holds on to their attention. This is where your delicate self-esteem needs to buck up, because no one is perfect at writing.
You have to be able to take criticism and realize your always learning. There are published authors out there that should work on their craft, as well as the one's who self-publish. Actually, I've read quite a few self-pub's that the writer was pretty good! And I've read some books that the author was successful and I cringe from the creative writing mistakes.
But believe me when I say, I make them, too. At least I am honest enough to say I'm still a work in progress and continue to hone my craft. And the other thing I do, is work with critique partners. This is the number one thing you need to do if you want a clean, tight novel.
After you have gone through your novel with a critique partner, you will need to go through it again. Each time you revisit your writing, you will see that you've grown in your skills and catch even more.
But once you feel you're ready, that your novel is the best it's going to get, you need to get some beta-readers, and I mean honest ones, not your family. When you get your manuscripts back from them and fix the marks they found, then you'll probably be ready to either hire an editor, if your self-pub, or start writing your query letters.
As you can see, between all the revisions, classes, critique partners, and the like - it's not easy to write a good novel. It is a lot of dedication and commitment.
I hope there are those of you who can appreciate just how hard it is and before you say, "I can do that". It is a long road, but well worth it in the end.
Have a great week everyone and hope to see you back here next Friday!