What's different this time? How do I know that this one novel idea is the one that's going to make it? Well, it's like with relationships. I just know. People ask me how do I know if my boyfriend is the one? When we've been together for almost a year, we got into a huge fight. It was awful and I expected it to end because that's how it went in the past. But despite everything we got through it. We went on and our love grew only stronger. That's when I knew.
I had a couple of other ideas for a novel which I wanted to work on. But then, one day, I found an old exposé I wrote some years before. I read it, a High School story full of intrigues and false friends and manipulation and a glimmer of hope. It was still very different from the book I'm working on now. But when I read it, I knew that this was it. This is the story I will make into a book. And since then I have been writing, editing, taking a course, learning, plotting, and so on.
The difference between this idea and all the others I had, is that I believe in it. Therefore I am willing to put an enormous amount of work into it in order to make it work. You know, how you dream of writing a novel but then you don't find the motivation to sit down and actually write it? Well, that's because your idea sucks. If even you, the creator of the story, don't want to write it, then why would anyone want to read it? This is the first lesson I learned so far through my experience of writing a novel.
You have to believe in your idea.
Once you found a story worth telling, that's when the real work begins.
Yes, writing is hard. You will pour your heart out on the page, just to re-read it and find that it's absolutely awful. There will be some ugly days when you want to give up. But you have to keep writing. Because one day your work is going to suck a little less.
That's the state I am in now. My draft is not ridicolously bad anymore but it's also not magnificent. And that's what I'm aiming for. Magnificent. I want to write the best book I can possibly write. And I'm still a far away from that. On some days I read my work and I want to instantly delete it all (sometimes I do). Then on other days I read it, and suddenly it's not that bad anymore. As writers we write and re-write and edit and read our own words so often, that at some point everything starts sounding like shit. When this happens, for me the best thing to do is to share my work.
I'm taking a writing class at my university and it really challenges me. I'm so nervous when I have to present my work. And sometimes I get eaten alive by the crticism. But still, it helps me more than anything. Not only does my work get better through sharing it and improving it according to the advice of my professor and classmates, but it also motivates me immensely. After all, my novel is meant to be read. And here people read it and they don't think that it's a piece of shit. Sharing my work gives me confidence by shattering my novel (and with it me) into pieces and then slowly building it up again. So, that's the second lesson I learned while writing my first novel:
Share your work.