bridge at sunset

Paperback Writer

So, I’m writing a novel. God, I know, how tedious of me. Everyone is writing a novel these days. Even Terry has tried it, and, to be perfectly honest, I’d be surprised if Rubin doesn’t have one in the pipelines too – “My Life With Wolves” or something. The thing that’s different about my novel, though, is that, unlike all of these other novels I’m always hearing about, it’s highly unlikely that mine will ever be finished. I’m the mistress of procrastination, remember, and if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to do a job badly.

I am writing my novel very badly. I’m stopping and starting with depressing regularity (Well, the stopping is regular, anyway. The starting, not so much.) Every so often I’ll have a rush of enthusiasm, and I’ll spend two or three weeks hammering away at the keyboard, frantically cranking out word after word, absolutely convinced that this is totally going to be the BEST NOVEL EVER and that when I’m finished, why, an agent will probably snap me right up and I’ll be rich and famous like JK Rowling, and will spend my days lying on a chaise in a silk nightgown, sipping martinis and typing a few exquisitely crafted chapters every now and then, The End. (Agents who are reading this and who are desperate to make this dream a reality: call me!)

Anyway, this latest break has been the longest one so far. I had a rush of enthusiasm back in 2004, and another one in 2005. Both of these happened when Terry was ill and I was all “adversity maketh the man!” and all that, but then the business got busy and I started spending all my time looking at shoes on the internet, and gah, no novel. Last night was the first time in about six months that I’ve so much as opened the folder in which the novel lives, though: I had been drinking wine and I thought that would cushion the blow, but nope, not a chance. The Novel was horrifically bad: so much so that I decided to start again from scratch. So I opened a new file, changed the font a few times, and then… nothing.

Well, actually, not quite nothing. I have about 2,000 words, but most of them don’t count because I just copied and pasted them from the last, doomed draft of the novel. Tonight I will copy and paste some more, and maybe even add some shiny new fresh ones, and, in this way, we will proceed for the next week or so, until I eventually throw my hands up in horror and announce, that GOD, I am so never going to be a novelist! Why do I ever tell myself I could be a novelist?

I do it, I suppose, because it’s still my most deeply cherished dream. One day I will do it, and I’m mentioning it here because, hey! If I give up this time, you all can shout at me, ‘kay?

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I also write books
  • Oh I’m just the same! Except mine’s a mysterious and secretive writing project and not a novel… here’s to getting things done! x

    September 26, 2006
  • Ooh, I like mysterious and secretive! Is this the one you've mentioned in your blog?

    September 26, 2006
  • Hey Amber, that's impressive.

    I was supposed to be doing 12 short stories in 12 months for a collection called "I wish my wife was this dirty" (but not in that way) and so far I have managed…one that I am happy with and two that I'm not.

    Good luck. You get on with it. Good day.

    September 26, 2006
  • 12 stories in 12 months?! /faints. God, that sounds scary. Love the title though 🙂

    September 27, 2006
  • ooh that sounds like a great idea Linda- don't give up!

    No it's even more mysterious than that, Amber! (this is breaking news in fact!)
    I did move some words around on it yesterday after I read your blog though, so I feel better about it now 🙂

    September 27, 2006
  • Amber: that's fantastic! Think you'd make a superb novelist 🙂

    I once tried to write a novel at 15 years old. It was about a girl who went to drama school, and was pretty much me writing as if it were my life.

    I wrote about 50 pages and then abandoned it. Because it was rubbish, mostly. Lol.

    September 27, 2006
  • Try this:

    STEP 1: use Typepad's "export posts" thingummy to generate a complete text file of your blog posts

    STEP 2: Paste text into a word processor, and do a word count.

    STEP 3: Remember that a typical novel is only maybe 60-80,000 words.

    STEP 4 [Probably] Be pleasantly surprised. If you already blog regularly, a novel is certainly acheivable.


    September 28, 2006
  • tell you what…I'll let you read mine if you let me read yours?

    Mine is crap. But I still have faith it can be rescued if I leave it alone long enough to get back some enthusiasm.

    September 28, 2006
  • Thanks, Jen – mine is mostly about my life too, which is probably why it's so crap!

    OE – the problem is, though, that there's no plot necessary for blogging 🙂 The novel needs a plot, and, um, it kind of doesn't have much of one…

    Gemma – You're on. I just need to redraft it about a dozen times first 🙂

    September 28, 2006
  • Hi Amber, me back again.

    Just wanted to let you know that after reading this and Gemma's thought on "you show me yours and I'll show you mine" I have just set up a new blog with my short stories on at

    The blog, like the stories, is a work in progress but I suppose I do want people to look at them so please do have a look if you get chance.

    And I suppose I also have to admit I would welcome any comments.

    Thanks, now I'm going back to bed.

    September 30, 2006
  • OE. That's interesting, I'm off to try that now.

    I blog an obscene amount, so I think I may well just surprise myself 🙂

    October 1, 2006
  • Linda – looks fab! Haven't had time to have a proper read yet, but will do soon!

    October 1, 2006