How to Write a Novel: STOP READING THIS!


Writing a novel is a little like getting back in shape. When you’re towards the beginning of the process, it’s sometimes easier to read ABOUT the work than to actually DO the work.

See, here you are reading this! (Which I appreciate, by the way.)

But let’s face it, unless you’re trying to solve some specific problem of character, plot, or tone, chances are good that you’re going to learn more by actually writing than by reading ABOUT writing!

When we’re being honest with ourselves, we know if we’re on the right track or not. So stop reading this; glue your butt to your chair; trust your intuition; play around on the page; try out different possibilities; and — as NIKE says — Just Do It! No distractions. No excuses.

Writing a novel: free resources for authors

Wait – you’re still reading? OK. Well, writing IS hard work, after all — so here are a few good articles to check out when you need an extra boost of inspiration or motivation, beginning with a piece I wrote for The Creative Penn about breaking through writer’s block:

1. Writer’s Block: The 12-Step Cure 

2. How to Write a Book in 6 Weeks (and live to tell about it)

3. Top 3 Tips for Writing Your First Novel

4. Janet Fitch’s 10 Tips That Can Help Any Writer

5. Finishing Your Novel: How to Know When Your Book is Done

6. Dangerous Writing: How to Amplify What’s at Stake in Your Novel

7. Time Management Tips for Writers on a Deadline

8. 3 Cures for Writer’s Block: Risk, Risk, Risk

OK. Now you’re really ready to the STOP reading and start writing!

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Chris Robley
Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."


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