Two Cents Worth

National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner. Something like 10 days away. I haven’t heard from my buddy Doug, so I’m assuming that he’s not doing it. But surprise of surprises, I did hear from my friend, Dawn, and she is. First timer. So cool.
Dawn has already said that she’s going to be a pantser, I’m more of a plotter. But having said that, I haven’t done any plotting yet. Last year I pantsed and it worked for me, I may be doing the same this year. Fingers crossed that I’ll get some plotting done here in the next few days and maybe even get some practice pages in.
Anyway, here are some writing thoughts that I, or others, have had and that I’d like to share with you for inspiration and motivation.
The first draft is always bad. The first draft of anything is shit. Don’t worry about it, it is just the way things are. Give yourself permission to write shitty first drafts. Get the ideas down and you can polish and rewrite and edit as much as you want later. Now is the time for writing. Just get the story down.
I probably sound like I’m repeating myself, but I don’t think I am, this is different to my mind. Don’t be afraid of your writing turning out terrible. Nobody expects your first novel to be much good anyway. You gotta write a lot of bad prose before you can even consider making something good in the future. I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. Even if you write four hours a day during NaNoWriMo, that’s only like 120 hours for the month. Do that for 84 months and then we’ll talk about how bad your writing is. I’ve done this year after year and I still write shit.
Only use the writing advice that makes sense to you. The stuff that works for you. Not everybody’s method will work for you. Forcing yourself to work that way is a sure path to failure. I write from 7-10 pm, at least that’s the plan… sometimes it even works that way …usually it’s closer to 11 before I’m done.
However, having said that, don’t be afraid to try something new. Some of that advice might just work for you. Use that advice.
Write the story you want to write. Now is not the time to worry if it will sell. Now is not the time to worry about what your great aunt will say about this book. Right now we’re writing from a primal place where the words just want to get out and onto the page. Don’t write something or not write something because some stranger on the internet said so. This is first draft stuff, this is all you and nobody else. Write the story you want. Later we’ll worry about the audience, the editors, and the publishers.
Put Google away while you’re writing. I love research. I research everything. Research can kill a writing session. Fake it, guesstimate, put in a place holder, check it later and add it to your notes. Right now, it doesn’t matter. The facts won’t change you can put them in later.
Research your stuff. Just don’t do it during your writing time. Research can be intimidating, but it will only help you. Hell, it always gives me new stuff to add to the story. All those juicy little tidbits.
Take all that internet writing advice with a grain of salt, even mine.  There is no ‘right’ way to write. Do what works for you.
Everybody will have something to say about your writing, sometimes you should listen and sometimes you shouldn’t. It’s good to learn the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism and to recognize empty praise for what it’s worth.
So I say to you, write what you want to write, make a habit of it, expect it to be hard work, and treat your process with respect. If you do these things and follow my advice I think you will find that writing and completing a manuscript is a very rewarding accomplishment.