4 Things You Will Learn From Writing Your First Novel

Hello everyone,

I am back from my hiatus and ready to share regular posts on this blog again. Thank you for sticking around–I hope you enjoy this post, and the many posts to come!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I recently finished writing my first novel. Today I’m sharing some of the things I learned along the way.

1 – Writing the first draft of a novel doesn’t actually take that long

There were times when I thought I would never finish writing my first novel. I thought the task was too big, the word count out of reach. That was until I got to my residency, and wrote the second half of the book in two weeks.

The actual writing isn’t what takes years, it’s the life that you have to live in between. Once you realise this, the task of writing a novel seems far less intimidating.

2 – Self-doubt is a killer (but it doesn’t have to win)

You probably already know about this thing called self-doubt. Most people do. But the self-doubt that a writer meets while writing their first novel deserves a warning label of its own. People rarely write and finish books unless writing means everything to them, which means that the stakes are high.

While writing my first novel, I often felt like I just wasn’t good enough, and that there was no point in trying to finish it because everything I’d written was terrible.

But you can’t edit a blank page. That’s one of my favourite sayings, and one that I repeated to myself until I stopped using my self-doubt as an excuse to stop writing.

3 – It won’t be as good as it is in your head

Nothing you write will ever be as good as the version in your head. Your first novel will drill this into your head, mercilessly. The only way to move forward is to let go of the need for perfection, and accept imperfection.

Thoughts and words are two different forms. Try not to compare them.

4 – It won’t be the best thing you’ll ever write, and that’s a good thing

I know it can feel like this book is everything. It can feel like these characters are the only characters you’ll ever be able to write, and any others won’t feel as real. But the more you write, the more you will learn about writing.

Although your first novel may not be up to standard, it was not a waste of time. Take everything you’ve learned, and then start another.

 

All the best,

Tamara Drazic

Writing Quote of the Day – Chekov

My lectures at university are full of great quotes by famous writers, and I always copy them into my note book so furiously that my hand starts to cramp. There’s so much to be learned from them, and the way that these writers word things always sheds light on a new aspect of the craft that I haven’t yet thought about, or fully understood. I thought I might start a little Quote of the Day series, in which I’ll share with you my favourite of the many writing-related quotes I’ve come across, either in a lecture or in my own research. Today in class my lecturer shared this great quote by the Russian writer, Chekov:

I’m not interested in answers, I’m interested in questions.

This quote accompanied a part of the lecture that discussed novels as expansion devices. They don’t have to have the answers to everything, but they should raise questions, and discuss them. In my lecturer’s words, they should expand the universe. Literature is a part of an ever-flowing discourse, and I find it so exhilarating that, as writers, we can have our say.

I hope you enjoyed this,

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Drazic