How to NOT Write a Novel

How NOT to Write a Novel

First, you will need to have an idea what you want to write about. A true tale morphed into fiction? A vampire romance? That edgy thriller that takes place in Africa? or maybe something Science Fiction? For me coming up with ideas is always easiest when I start with a character or a setting and let them take control. But you could also use brainstorming for this step.

Write down every idea you’ve ever thought of writing about on a post it note and hang them all on one wall. Give yourself some room around each of them to add in extra ideas related to it. You can be neat and orderly about this step and put them in rows and columns or you can be more free form and arrange them like giant thought bubbles covering the walls of your room.

The more ideas you come up with, the easier it will be to NOT write that novel, so really spend months on this step thinking through every possible rendition of each character, setting, genre, and climax. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a great opportunity to write that best selling novel. We all know how critical the idea is. It must be perfect before you ever write a word.

Second, you either need to outline it so that you know everything that will happen from beginning to end or you need to face facts that you are indeed a “pantser”. There’s nothing wrong with being a pantser no matter how many derogatory things you’ve heard before. As a matter of fact it will help you in your journey to NOT write the novel, so I will encourage you to give pantsing a go even if you’ve never tried it before.

Third, now that you have that great idea and have decided on an approach, you need to set up a Facebook and Twitter account for the novel so that you can keep your eager fans notified of the progress you are making on it. This step is very important in NOT writing your novel. The more social media accounts you can set up, the better. You might even want to set up a blog dedicated to the novel as well to give potential readers even more in depth knowledge of the novel they will never be able to read.

Fourth, create a daily schedule to follow. Spend almost as much time on this step as you did on the initial idea phase so that you are certain you can get this novel done. Make sure you use fifteen minute time slots or less so that you can schedule in potty breaks and pencil sharpening and that next text to Twitter. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to promote your non-existent novel. Don’t forget to include scheduling when to let the dog out to pee, time to decide on what you will fix for supper, those precious moments when the cat demands attention, checking the mail to see if you have more bills to worry about paying, and phone calls from telemarketers. (we all know they call at supper time, so you might as well include them in your schedule)

Fifth, set up your writing space. You will want a dedicated area for this to happen. If possible, build on another room to your house so that you will have complete control over any interruptions to your daily writing schedule that you spent so much time creating. This can be as simple as a discarded refrigerator box with a large floor pillow. (I would resist the urge to cut out a window flap. The cat will just find it and play with it all day long.) Or, if you are planning to be a full time novelist like Stephen King or Agatha Christie you could build an entire writing studio at the back of your property. The choices are endless so spend as much time as you can getting it right.

The most important part about it is that you have all of your essentials arranged just so on or near your desk. Go on a special shopping trip (or two or three) to make sure the pencil holder (that you don’t use because you actually type everything into your computer) matches the decor of your room perfectly. You will need a coffee mug or two as well. These should have quotes from your favorite authors on them and should give you inspiration for the novel you’re not writing. Extra points if you find one that matches the decor of your writing space to hold your pencils.

Sixth, speaking of coffee, you will need to have as much as possible of this nectar of the gods at your disposal twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You will not be working on your novel that much, right? Find a local gourmet coffee shop that sells bulk coffee from around the world, if possible. Make sure you plan several day trips a month to the coffee shop if for no other purpose than to soak in all those fabulous aromas around you in the store and sample their daily offerings.

Seventh, now that you have an idea, a method of working, a schedule, a place to work, and all the essential coffee you will need, sit down and open your word processor on your computer. Type the title and chapter at the top of the page. Then you will need to check your schedule. It will probably be time to check in with facebook by now and give an update. So take care of that. And while you’re on social media, you might as well check your notifications and reply to anyone who’s replied to you or made comments. I’m certain by now your cat or dog or two year old has done something cute as well, so you might as well post that too. Your fans will think that you are human by posting those kind of details and so relate to your writing even more.

Eighth, refill your coffee mug and while you’re up you might as well take a pee break even thought it isn’t scheduled for another half hour. Your bladder can’t read a schedule after all.

Ninth, fix yourself something to munch on while writing. This might be a bowl of nuts or chips or maybe a hot pocket. Better still, a warm gooey cinnamon roll sounds perfect with your hot mug of coffee. So a trip to the store is in order. While you’re there you can get the grocery shopping done for the week. It’s not scheduled until tomorrow but you’ll be ahead if you go ahead and do it now.

Continue this pattern for the next ten or twelve years and you will NOT write your novel. Easy Peasy.

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