Why in the World Did I Write a Novel?
June 27, 2018
Forming the Habit
September 25, 2018

You Have a Story Struggling to Erupt Out of Your Brain…What Do You Do?

I know the feeling. It’s like an itch. A story keeps flaring up, it wants to burst forth into the world. And only you can make it happen.

You find when you go for a walk, you think about it. You go for a jog, and you think about it. You travel to a meeting, and you think about it. It keeps at you.

“How do I write a book?” you ask yourself. You go to a bookstore and buy a book or two. You get to know your characters. (See my blog ‘Give Yourself Some Credit’ for more details on that.)

If there are classes in your town, take some. Look on-line for writing groups that you can join. Maybe you can find a group at a book store. It helps to be around people like you – people who have stories inside of them.

The moment of truth. Even though it was eight years ago, it feels like it was yesterday. I’d taken several night classes at the university in my town. I’d read books by authors on how to write a novel. I’d read books on how to develop characters. I’d joined writing groups.

Then I turned on my computer.

I opened Word.

And I stared at the screen.

For the life of me, I couldn’t imagine how to write the novel and keep track of what was going on. I could only see that one page in front of me. How was I going to make this work? What did I do? I opened Excel.

For years, Excel was my tool of choice in the business world. As a financial controller, the responsibilities of forecasting, budgets, cost management, etc. were all solved on Excel.

When you develop a budget, you formulate it through the fiscal year which in my case was January through December. And it is devised horizontally. A time line is horizontal. A story falls along a time line.  Word is vertical. I couldn’t work vertically.

I planned the story on Excel adding tabs as I went. I labeled each tab for how I planned the plot. I was able to track what day of the week I was on as well as the time of day. I was able to get a solid outline of my story.

It took months. Don’t think that writing a novel is a quick project. It takes time. It takes perseverance. But the itch is getting scratched. The story is cascading out of your brain.

It’s being told.

 

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