How I Wrote My First Novel

 I love to write. Since I was young, I had aspired to becoming a great novelist. I loved  books and enjoyed entertaining the concept of writing them. But I could never get myself to write my own novel. I’ve started plenty of stories… haven’t most of us? But none of those tales seemed worth writing. Or maybe I just didn’t feel like  a worthy writer.

Growing up with low self esteem always kept me from doing my best. Sometimes, when I finally did sit down to place my ideas on paper, when I truly began pursuing my dreams, I would work hard into the night only to wake up the next morning with a sinking feeling of failure and unworthiness. Even though God may have been the only one who knew of my stories and poems and aspirations, I still felt humiliated and inadequate. Who was I to think I could write an original, inspirational piece, or even finish a novel?

My sense of imperfection limited me. My embarrassment hindered me. So I stopped writing. I stopped even thinking about writing a story of any sort. When an idea came to me, I quickly dismissed it, knowing it would only end with that same sinking feeling I was so familiar with.

But then one day I watched an episode from Stargate SG1. I’m not a  huge fan of the show, but this one episode captured my attention. It was different and sparked something inside of me. Something that I had long locked down. I was also reading one of my favorite books at the time. Somehow, between that show and the book, I was enticed into picking up my computer and typing the scene that had been playing in my head ALL WEEK.

I thought that once I removed this scene from my head to the computer screen, my deep desire to write would deflate, leaving me in peace. I wasn’t a good writer, and I couldn’t finish anything in the past, so what was the use of dreaming?

But I kept writing. After I wrote the original scene, I added more scenes. For days I wrote. Then I created an entire world that took place on a far away planet. When the sinking feeling didn’t come the next morning, I kept writing. After I had completed a few scenes, I decided to start at the beginning, and introduced the reader to my heroine in chapter one. Then I kept writing.

And writing.

And writing.

Songs that had always inspired me to write were all added onto one playlist that played over and over as I wrote. Each night I went to bed with high hopes and a sense of excitement and inspiration, thinking that I would wake up the next morning realizing how absurd my story was and how utterly ridiculous I was to think I could finish a book.

But every morning that I awoke, I was filled with a sense of hope and renewed ardor. Every day. It was a long-lasting feeling that persuaded me to write more and more and more until, before I knew it, my book was done. Finished.

Of course, it was a big jumbled mess, something that had to be taken apart and re-written, but I had completed a story nonetheless. And if felt great. What was better: even after I finished, I didn’t set it aside and say I would revise it later. I was so eager to make this novel a masterpiece, something that would make me proud, so I sent the first four chapters to a freelance editor who gave me helpful tips on word choice, story flow, grammar, etc. Then I re-wrote it. I had close friends read it, then re-wrote it. I posted it on a website of a community of writers where I received more feedback.

Then I rewrote it again.

I wrote my story to the best of my ability, and now, exactly one year after I noted my original scene on paper, I’ve completed my first novel. And it feels great… well worth the time and effort.

In this blog I hope to encourage and relate with other writers the challenges I faced when writing my first book. I’ll be sure to cover the good and the bad, the ups and the downs. Writing a novel is hard work, but in the end you’ll discover just how much that work pays off… even if you never get published.

Sarala

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2 thoughts on “How I Wrote My First Novel

  1. Pingback: Write First, Learn Later | Coffee & Quill

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