I love writing. I love reading. I love making worlds and characters.
BUT IT CAN BE A PAIN IN THE ASS!
LET’S GET STARTED!
I would love to tell you all that writing Second Sight: The Decay was easy. It wasn’t. In all reality out of all the projects I have ever done it was the biggest nightmare. More nightmares than you’ll get reading it I’m sure. I will explain how I did it and how you can save yourself the heartache of never finishing your first novel. Toughen up and tough it out. It’s worth it.
Writing a novel is like being in heaven then falling into hell. That’s one way to put it. You are so excited when you write it, losing yourself in that world, then it’s time to edit.
Editing is the devil’s work if you don’t have a budget for an editor. Even if you have the money you still have to polish it to a sheen then send it to the editor so they can destroy your work.
Suck it up buttercup get to work and make it as perfect as you can, but done is better than perfect.
How it all started.
This is depressing, but it’s necessary for all my fellow writers. I’m sure you are in my spot too. When I wrote my book I was having daily panic attacks. Sometimes multiple times a day. I had to get out of the new situation I was in. It gave me an escape from the Anxiety Attacks along with other issues in my life.
I had just moved back to my hometown—like Rick does in Second Sight—To have all the stuff I ran away from come back. No, I didn’t see demons, and there were no ghostly images here. It has been tough though. My situation is not ideal, but no situation will ever be perfect. Don’t let your situation or home life stop you from chasing the dream.
I was on my own for years with a successful career. I had hope that I could get back into the tech field and get back to living “the life.” To be honest, most of the work I was doing after that point were garbage freelance jobs that didn’t pay or YouTube Streams that grew too physically painful to show up. I couldn’t stream in my office chair. My back would hurt after an hour because of 3 car wrecks. None were my fault.
Now I sleep in a recliner every night, because of my back issues. Can’t fit a bed in this room and this is where I eat, sleep, and write. All in this one tiny room.
Depressing right? Keep reading I promise you it’s worth your time!
Why did I keep going? I had two options. Stay in this shitty situation or escape to that world I created. I chose the latter as it was better for me even though it’s a scary place.
Use writing or music or whatever you do as a hobby as your escape. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.
Stephen King wrote books for the same reason I’m sure. Everyone has a reason for creating their worlds. Most people who write an entire novel to completion have screws loose. It’s a lot of dedication, and almost all creative people have something wrong with them up top.
Writing a novel differs greatly from music or YouTube.
On YouTube, you can take it whatever approach you want. There are no real rules or standards on it. You can turn on a 20 dollar shit webcam and get huge. Or not.
With writing a novel, I feel there is more dedication if you want to do it well. You aren’t just making a goofy YouTube clip of you dancing to a song. You are creating something brand new, from nothing, and having to make it all make sense. It’s very difficult and stressful. Any author that says writing isn’t a rewarding but also stressful endeavor is full of shit. Full stop.
Every author has been stressed to high hell while writing a 300+ page novel. Don’t beat yourself up thinking others have it easier. THEY DON’T!
Writing a novel is like running a marathon. If you sprint to the end, you will burn out. Let it evolve into its own life.
Listen to what Stephen King says at 1:05
“Writing a novel is like building a little campfire on an empty, dark plane. And one by one these characters come out of the dark. Each one has a little pile of wood and they put it on the fire. And if you’re very lucky before the fire goes out it’s this big bonfire and all the characters stand around and warm themselves,” ~Stephen King
When Lotus and I started we had a very tiny scope. I had two short stories one called “Norcastle” and one called “The White Room.” Both were supposed to be radio drama videos for YouTube.
I had people scheduled to be voice actors in the radio drama for White Room and Norcastle before I made the two into a novel.
Now I have the best of both worlds because of my wonderful narrator we hired named Rick Barr. Follow him on twitter @ https://twitter.com/RicksVoice26. Because of him, we can have both the Radio Drama and a novel in one because of Audible. So it all worked out perfectly!
Here’s an example for you. Stephen King’s first novel was Carrie. He wrote for magazines before that, but not a published novel. King said:
“I had a few pages of Carrie—a book where I had to enter the world of a teenage girl that I’ve never been in—and I gave up. I threw it in the trash. Then my wife came into my study and found it in there and took it out of the garbage. She told me to set it aside and work on it later.”
Another example he did was on a newer novel called “Under The Dome” where he wrote parts of it when he was a young teacher. He said, “it was too big for me, and I was too young for it.” Then around 30 years later it came out.
I think the worst thing you can do in writing is throw something away.
For example, in my new novel Second Sight: The Decay. The white room story was completely tossed out at first. That was going to be its own novel, but I couldn’t do anything with it. I wrote the white room when I was around 16 years old. I threw it away many times, but it kept coming back.
I looked it over and realized it was perfectly fine in Second Sight. It needed a few tweaks, and it would fit perfectly fine. After a week of toiling with it, it came out perfect in the novel.
Don’t throw anything away! Put it in a different word file or a new google doc file. It will not give your computer a virus, just put it aside!
Take a breath. If you are burnt out on your novel, put it aside and work on something else. Or sit there and watch South Park. Actually, no South Park is trash now watch something else!
A novel is finished after the first draft. Yeah, I said it! You can scream all you want in the comments. A novel to me is done after the first draft is complete. Everything after is editing.
You finished a huge 40-100k manuscript. That’s a novel! It may be a turd because it’s the first draft, but it’s YOUR TURD! Be happy at that giant log you pushed out! Embrace it! Okay, don’t hug turds. That’s not a good idea…
“I hear the mantra all the time of “Leave it for a month, or 3 months then edit.” Absolute nonsense. I think you should give yourself some time away to relax and let it all sink in that YOU WROTE A NOVEL but go back and pick at it when you want. Don’t force yourself away from it. Think it over, write ideas that can add to it then add those ideas as it goes on.
Your 2nd draft is like Bob Ross’ happy little trees.
Have you ever watched Bob Ross paint? It always goes like this. He paints a beautiful background image. Then he screws it all up with HAPPY LITTLE TREES that cover that beautiful background up. That ruins the painting. To you, that’s what you do during the second draft. Skip the trees and paint something that adds to the book to make it BETTER. Don’t be Bob Ross! Don’t be afraid to add or take away things. This is your painting!
That Bob Ross analogy also applies to your first draft. The blank canvas is your word processor. When you finish writing the first draft that’s your Bob Ross background. Now, you can add your “happy little clouds” and “happy little trees” all you want. Then, you repeat this process into the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, whatever amount of drafts you do until you think it’s a complete picture.
Now after the editing is done we get to the fun part. MARKETING!
Yes… marketing is where you will REEEEEEEEEEE the most.
Marketing is like doing a root canal, blindfolded, while you’re up to your neck in hot lava. IT SUCKS! What can I say about marketing? Remove all sharp objects from the room, throw out all your guns, and pray to god you survive this phase. That’s all I can tell you.
What’s the point of all this depressing shit? It’s to inspire you! To let you know that you are not alone in your bad situation. A bad situation should encourage you to write more to take you away from it all. When you pass it on to others, and it will help them too. It’s like an endless stream of helping people by helping yourself is how I see it.