Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Loyalty in writing

I was talking to some writer friends the other day who said they often work on more than one book at a time. They couldn’t understand how I could stand to work on only one, especially when it sometimes takes six months or longer to finish a full length novel.

I admit I often get bored with my book, especially as I near the end and can’t wait to finish simply because I have several other ideas cooking and chomping at the bit to get written.

But working on several books at a time? I don’t know. I seriously doubt Stephen King or Jeffrey Archer or any other writers who make their living doing what we do work this way.

It would be simply too easy for the beginning writer to abandon the book as soon as they reached a spot they couldn’t work through. They would tell themselves they'd get back to it after the problem had a few days or weeks to cool off. But would they? It’s tempting to abandon something that gets tough instead of working through the rough patch.

Wouldn’t we all rather have one finished book than ten at different levels of completion?

Stick with your current project. Don’t abandon it just because things aren’t going your way. It might actually be a good thing. The story might be trying to tell you there is another way, a better way to reach your conclusion. Don’t be afraid of new ideas and don’t be afraid to pursue them as they occur to you.

Writing a book is a learning process for you and your characters. Life is happening inside the pages of your book. Life is unpredictable. That’s what makes it fun. It's what makes writing fun. Don’t abandon your project. Don’t, at least until you've finished one or two and learned your strengths and temptations, work on more than one novel at a time.

Remain loyal to your original novel. See it through to the end. Not every novel idea that occurs to you is worth writing. But the one you're working on now is. Pursue it like a junkyard dog. You’ll thank me later.

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