Many people, when they find out I’m a novelist, will say, “Oh I want to write a novel some day, when I find the time.”
I’ve learned that most of them mean in the same way that I mean it when I say, “I really want to learn another language.” The truth is, if I really wanted to learn another language, I’d do it. One day, I may. But right now, learning another language is not a priority for me. I never write anyone off as a future novelist. The thing about writing novels is that anyone can do it (no, it isn’t easy, it’s just that most humans response and react to story, so it calls to us like the sea, or the stars, or the mountain tops).
For some people. this call is impossible to ignore. Those people, eventually, write their novel.
You may be one of those people. If so, I want to let you know that you are not likely to find the time. If you really want to write a novel, you’ll have to make the time.
How do I know? Because I used to be someone who wanted to write a novel someday, when I found the time. I wrote lots of short stories. But I was afraid to start a novel, afraid I wouldn’t find the time to finish such an involved project. I had a job. A family. I was a part-time grad student (in English, and my thesis was to be a novel, so…duh).
I didn’t find the time to write my novel — until I made the time.
In the spirit of giving back, I used to teach an email class called “Finish Your Novel in 8 Weeks” through writersweekly.com. By that time, I’d made the time to write several novels, despite all the life distractions (school, work, children, a sabbatical that had me packing up and moving my family to Cleveland for six months…while telecommuting to my job back when telecommuting was a new thing).
I encouraged my students to do the hard work that is required to write a novel (we authors call it the Butt-in-Chair mindset). Some of my students did finish their novel draft, but most of them found it too difficult.
Recently, I decided to update the course and offer it through my website kellymcclymerbooks.com (which supports a robust Learning Management System for courses).
It was supposed to be a simple course, similar to the original course…but I don’t really do simple. Instead, I’ve created a course for people who really want to finish their novels.
Which leaves me with a big problem. I hope you can give me some advice to help solve that problem.
I need to find people who really want to finish a novel. Not people who aren’t ready to finish a novel. Remember, twenty years ago I used to be one of those people, so I’m not disparaging anyone. I get it. Life is…life.
As I retooled the Finish Your Novel in 8 Weeks course, and made a list of things I could offer through this course that I couldn’t offer through the email course years ago, I realized that if you’re the person who is ready to take my course, you are special. You don’t just dream of writing a novel, you have characters playing in your imagination as you go about your daily life. Your characters are demanding you write your novel. You need to write your novel. But you can’t find the time in your busy life schedule.
That’s where my Finish Your Novel in 8 Weeks comes into play. It’s for writers who are ready for a make-time-to-write coach every day for 8 weeks. This isn’t a course for dabblers. This is a course for people who are willing to make the time to actually write the gloriously messy first draft of their novel. We’re not going to talk about craft, we’re going to talk about getting the words on the page. Because, ultimately, that’s how every novel gets written: word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, scene by scene, chapter by chapter. Until I realized that (yes, sooooo simple) fact, I did not tackle a novel.
And now I’m ready to share it with you, but if you’re truly ready to write a novel.
The course is close to done. At least, done enough for me to put it out there to get some eager students to kick the tires of the inaugural revamped version.
I’ve been thinking about who I want for students — and how to reach those students and (gently) turn away those who are not ready for the hard work required by an 8 week commitment to get the novel they dream of writing finished.
I am going to create a quiz and some guidelines so that only those who are ready for this course take it.
So here’s my question for you? How do I help you know you’re ready to make time, not wait around to find time?