Superglue is the key to writing

2015-10-29 21.22.56It’s very easy to decide to write a book. I’ve started many novels. It’s a little more difficult to come up with an entire plot, and that fact has derailed many of my ideas. Sometimes your idea will only warrant a short story. But let’s say you’ve got an idea, and you’ve managed to sketch out a basic plot. You think it’s good. You’re excited. You sit down and start writing, and an hour later you’ve produced two pages. (For me that would be a lot, but I tend to edit as I write.) Now in the back of your mind, you’re doing the math. How many hours is it going to take you to write this book? And how much fun is it going to be? Creating character, scene, and plot is like daydreaming or brainstorming: fun. (If you don’t think it’s fun, you probably shouldn’t be writing fiction.) But writing a novel is simply work. Sometimes you’ll be working on the craft, selecting the ideal word or constructing a beautiful paragraph, but most of the time you’ll just be slogging away at it. You need to be very motivated. As one of my writer friends put it, “All I need to finish my memoir is Superglue. So I can glue myself to my chair.” Novels do not write themselves, and that’s why many people say, “I want to write a novel,” but most people do not say, “I wrote a novel.” If you’ve written one, that is amazing. You’ve done something many people cannot or will not do. Congratulations!