Eight Ways To Write Your Novel Faster

I asked several writers how long it took them to write a novel they wanted published. One woman writer made a frustrated face at me, a couple others just stared at me (their novel wasn't finished yet), and a few just stared.

We all have hectic lives having to take care of families, jobs, extended family, chores, school involvement, and a host of many other responsibilities. Yet, writers must write. In addition, if we don't we become frustrated with feelings of failure and that we aren't accomplishing what our heart nags us to do. We are creative personalities with an inherent need to write. Our characters urge us on, even torment us, as they inspire. Ignoring or procrastinating our creative abilities and needs can lead to emotional fallout. The Muse is relentless in its inability to let us sleep at times, keeps us from to paying full attention to important demands with the thoughtfulness we would otherwise give them, and we can't think of much else but getting back to the keyboard. The Great American Novel waits impatiently.

So how do successful authors find the time to pluck out a novel and make it successful?

1. Priorities. We can't ignore our children, spouses, and chores. But we can prioritize. Write when the babies are asleep or at school. When everyone is asleep stay up an extra two hours and write. Plan play dates for your small children, or get a neighborhood teenager to baby-sit for a few hours, and take that time to write. The dishes and vacuuming will wait - it isn't going anywhere. It's amazing how much we can accomplish with just two hours a day of peace and quiet even if that means going to bed later, or getting up earlier. If you're young, you have more stamina. If you are older, then some things in your daily housekeeping will have to wait.

2. Get a notebook and flesh out the chapters in general. That way you aren't staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what comes next. As you consult your notes, more ideas will come. Be organized.

3. Write the synopsis first. That way you will have it down on paper the beginning, middle and end. This will keep you focused, and keep you from going off on tangents that waste time.

4. Get a notebook dedicated to your novel. List your characters - who they are, what their conflict is, their personality, and what makes them tick, their place in the story. Make notes on what place they have in your story. This will save you a lot of time. Keep a small notebook with you everywhere you go to make notes as ideas spark your mind. When you're out shopping, doing errands, waiting in line, read the headlines from newspapers and magazines. Listen to the people around you - how they talk, what they look like, what their appearance tells about them. This will help you look into what makes people tick, and help you with character ideas, fleshing out your characters, and how they might speak.

5. Do your research for the novel on a designated day each week. That way you aren't wasting time researching when you're supposed to be writing.

6. Having your own space to write and concentrate is of utmost importance. Quiet is imperative as The Muse influences and inspires us. Any outside noise and confusion will chase off your muse in a hurry. Establish your own office area where no one else will bother you. Instill boundaries so that your family knows that this is your own space, and you aren't to be bothered. This is difficult when you have small children. Going to the library is a good option if you can't establish your own space at home.

7. What fosters your muse? Some writers must have solitude without any background noise. Others need favorite music, the radio, or TV on in the background. This is purely an individual choice. There is no right or wrong. Whatever it takes to foster your muse to guide you along.

8. And finally - NEVER GIVE UP. Life will always threaten to get in the way of your passion to get a novel finished. Good organization, making sure you get time for you, and being positive will keep the Muse alive. Confidence in your abilities and self-affirmations are necessary to keep going in spite of any odds. First novels are published in spite of all the naysayers out there who say it's almost impossible. The next first novelist could be you!

Jillanne Kimble is the Acquisitions Editor for Kimble McKay Literary Arts Group. They help writers become authors in the traditional publishing industry through time-tested methods, full support, and their huge databases of agents and publishers who are looking for new talent. You can reach her at http://www.kimblemckay.netfirms.com or jakimble@direcway.com.

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