What I Learned From The First Ten Chapters
Writing is hard, hard work. Anyone who tells you differently is lying.
I’ve never written novel-length prose before. When I wrote Reclamation all those years ago, the idea was simple; take what I learned from Castlevania, apply it to my universe, and publish. Very little thought or planning went into it.
Namesake is different. The ideas are wholly mine. I spent months planning and drafting before I typed my first word. I was hoping that dedicating entire notebooks to the story would make writing the story easier. I was wrong.
I’m now ten chapters of the first draft into the story. While I’ve encountered some inevitable issues, this is the most productive I’ve ever been as a writer. This is my first time writing full-length prose before, and these are some of the lessons I’ve picked up along the way.
1). PLOTTER OR PANTSER: DOESN’T MATTER.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of writer you are, as long as you get the job done. Whatever process you’re most comfortable with, go with that. Don’t waste time guilting yourself because you’re “not like other writers” or “you’re not doing it the traditional way”. It’s just you and your manuscript. Everything else is a distraction.
2). WRITERS BLOCK IS INEVITABLE.
You never really appreciate the details of a story until it’s your responsibility to tell them. Planning will give you great broad-stroke overviews, but you will always reach a point where you just don’t know what happens next. There’s nothing wrong with this. It may mean you need a break. It may mean you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere (this is where your notes come in handy). What it doesn’t mean is that you need to burn the whole thing down and start over. Taking moments to stop, think, and reflect is a healthy part of the process. Unfortunately, so is doubt.
3). YOU HAVE TO COMMIT.
There’s a lot of sage advice out there as to whether or not you should write every day. I choose not to. I find writing every day on the same project to be too much of a mental strain. So I designate work days (usually Monday through Thursday) where I treat my project like a job. On off-days, I may take notes on other stories bouncing around my head.
The important thing is that if you’re going to write a book, you have to buckle down and write the book. If you plan on finishing it, you have to block off a significant amount of time to the endeavor. You can cut yourself slack from time to time (I’m in the middle of a block, so I’m taking time to think the plot over for a couple of days) but you have to spend more time writing than you do procrastinating.
This is what I’ve learned from hammering down the first ten chapters of my work. I hope they help you. Best of luck with your writing.
Thanks for reading.