Writing Your First Novel, A Primer

Who am I kidding, this is no primer.  I have absolutely no idea what I am doing!

What I can describe, is something that I feel is working for me in terms of writing.  Here are a set of rules that I have loosely constructed for myself.  It changes every day.

  1. Write anything.  (I mean this kind of goes without saying, but sometimes I find it incredibly hard to do.)

2.  If you feel the urge to stop / procrastinate / mindlessly scroll Instagram, it means something is wrong.  Figure out what is wrong, re-do it, or fix it.  (I often get that feeling that something isn’t right.  When I can’t identify it, I look for distractions.  Float around YouTube, shave the dog, vacuum the roof – anything to avoid what is likely staring me in the face.  Find the issue, annihilate the issue, sally forth.)

3.  Accept Failure.  Not everything works.  Not everything is produced exactly as envisioned.  Instead of spending hours re-doing and re-doing and re-doing, move on and come back to fix later.  (It is anti-every-molecule-in-my-body to accomplish this.  For instance, the very first post I made on this blog took me all of 10 minutes to write, and I have already spent 2 hours editing and re-editing it.  I should … not.)

4.  Hang on, brb, I have to go fix that first thing …

5.  Write for yourself.  Unless you’re getting paid to write something, in which case you have a job.  Still, write for yourself.  This is YOUR thing and YOUR time.  Why do it if you don’t enjoy it?  Splurge.  Make writing your own personal jelly-filled donut (if you’re into that sort of thing).  The treat you give yourself.

6.  If it’s not there, don’t.  I’m SO guilty of this.  There is a string of broken blogs, projects, media, and content in my wake.  Because I have enthusiasm for beginnings.  Then I hit one snag and stop, then … I’m stopped.  Like a freight train – hundreds of tons chugging along like a cheeky little engine until it isn’t, and it feels downright impossible to start again.  Then it’s staring at you, unfinished, ignored, and you feel guilty going back to it.  It’s the worst.  Again, this kind of comes down to accepting the creative process unique to you.  If it’s not there, don’t.  I would rather not put something down imperfect and bothersome than put something down for the sake of saying I did.

7.  Creating is Creative, Fixing is Logical.  Something I must always keep in mind. Editing what I’ve written exercises my logical brain muscles (it’s biology, nerd, look it up).  As an INFJ in particular, that’s not a strong function for me.  I’m a broad-vision kind of guy.  I love the big ideas, the creating of it all.  It’s fluid, like a big fluffy cloud I can shape however I like.  Making sure something is actually correct?  Ugh, gross.  Fun, but gross and tiring.


Being alone and thinking creatively = filling the fuel tank
Being alone and thinking logically = draining the fuel tank


8.  Trust the Process. (Shout out to all you fellow Sixers fans.) The process is whatever you find that works for you.  Personally, I’m still finding my way through this, but I have a bit of a system down with the help of some cool tools that I am sure I will explain in excruciating detail in another post.  MY BRAIN MOVES TOO FAST.  So it’s critical for me to find a way to slow it down just a hair, get a little bit of focus going, organize my thoughts to a timeline, detail it and detail it, then work outwardly from there.  By the way, I haven’t actually written a book yet, so I don’t know if this shit will work, but it sounds good and I’m making some progress.  If a dude like Doctor Oz can give you health advice, I can give you writing advice.

That’s about it for this incredibly organic, off-the-cuff list.  It’ll change.  Maybe I’ll add more.  Maybe I’ll ignore it and hope it helps you.  Maybe it will inspire you to think of your own.

Maybe I’m full of crap.  Whatever.  It’s my blog.  GET OFFA MY LAWN, WHIPPERSNAPPER!


I am a walking, talking contradiction. INFJ, martial artist, father of 3 awesome boys, database nerd, aficionado of great music, coffee snob, tattooed, overflowing with at-times crippling amounts of empathy. Now you know me, which means we can never hang out. Sorry, but not really, I'd find an excuse not to no matter what.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu