Writing a Novel – Day 1

Dec 3, 2012.

It was a dark and stormy night…..”

Here goes. I’ve decided to write a young adults book starting NOW. It hasn’t been a decision arising out of some creative wellspring. Rather, it is a pretty calculated decision based on the following factors –I have plenty of time on my hands and need something to do, I have a 10-year-old who enjoys reading (mostly fantasy novels about wizards and dragons) so I know what kids like to read (I think!)

Can I write? That doubt has kept me from attempting this project for the longest time. But my experiences of 3 years as editor of India Currents magazine and several years as a freelancer have convinced me that talent is really a secondary consideration when it comes to writing. It is a craft and, like any other job, gets better with time and practice. By elevating it to an art form where some people are supposed to have an intrinsic advantage we do it a disservice that keeps so many potential authors out of the field because of fear. I keep telling my kids, who seem to have interesting voices, to just plug away and not worry about the end product because each iteration just gets better; it is about time I listened to my own advice.

So why this blog? Two reasons. The first is that I suspect I will run out of motivational steam at some point or the other; empirical evidence of many such failed endeavors in my life points to this. By putting this project out in public, I am trying to create an incentive/shaming device that keeps me going when I lose interest. Secondly, I think it will be interesting to keep a diary of my first attempt as a novelist…it will be fun to look back when the book is done to see what effort it took and what challenges were overcome.

First steps:

Since I am typing this on my computer (I briefly considered long-hand but, these days, even writing a check cramps my fingers, so that idea got scuttled fast!) I need Freedom, an internet blocking software that lets you set a time period when the internet is blocked. You can get access to the internet before that period ends by rebooting the computer but that is a bit of a pain. Unfortunately, the computer is still available through various other devices in my home like my cellphone and the Kindle Fire, so my strategy there will be to simply put these devices as far away from me as possible so I am not tempted; at any rate, succumbing to the lure of the web will force me to get out of my comfy writing spot on the bed.

I’ve downloaded and installed Freedom. I have set it to 120 minutes, which is about the time I think I can spare every day to write uninterrupted.

I’ve set aside the time between 9 and 11 am as my writing time (weekends off). During this time I will only answer emergency calls from my kids and I will not schedule any appointments. I’ve already had to ignore two calls from my best friend so I need to let my friends and family know about my plan.

I have been mulling over the story for a while so the first chapter is fairly clear in my mind. I’m off to write.

More tomorrow.

If you have some tips to share or experiences of your own, please leave them here in the comments instead of FB so I can keep a record.

5 thoughts on “Writing a Novel – Day 1

  1. meena srinivasan

    I am excited! I still remember being mesmerized by the impromptu Halloween story you told around the fire pit. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! I think the story will take a hold of you and won’t let you stop until you finish it. 

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    1. Vidya Pradhan Post author

      Great idea! I see that the date for the course is in March 2013 and if my book isn’t well along by then, I will first slap myself silly and then enroll for this workshop!

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    1. Vidya Pradhan Post author

      Thanks Malini..I need friends like you to keep me going..already having second thoughts after reading what I’ve written so far..soooo crappy:)

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