Being Consistent

I think writers at one point ask, “how do you write a novel?” It’s almost as if people hoped that there was a secret. Sure, it would be awesome if say, I could travel to the future, grab the novel I wrote, and bring it back. I could then copy it and publish it (you know, ignoring the time paradox).

Sadly, novels are not written overnight. I mean, I wish I could write a novel in a single day, and I know some people can write like 25k words in one go, but that’s not how it works. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can already hear someone say, “I can write it in one day!” My answer to that is either that the novel probably sucks, or that the person is lying to themselves.

The only way to really finish a long project is to write a little every day. There’s no secret. It’s being consistent about your work that gets you there in the end. That’s why so many writers recommend writing every day.

And over time, this helps anyway. Just like weightlifting, writing every day leads to improvement. Stephen King did not get as good as he is the moment he stepped out of the womb. Nah, he practiced over the years. And, with that, he’s gotten much better (arguably anyway). But he’s just one example. A lot of writers don’t publish their first novels (I’d be embarrassed to have anyone see the first novel I actually finished).

Consequently, writing every day also builds a history, and that’s pretty damn cool in my opinion. Going back through all my work over the years is awesome. I get to see how much I’ve improved, and just how much I’ve written (sometimes I open the flash fiction file from my old blog just to see a massive list). It gives this amazing sense of accomplishment.

In a way, that’s a time of time travel. Sure, I can’t go forward and steal from my future self, but I can build forward towards that future self. There’s no secret in the end. It’s hard work, persistence, and being consistent. But, it’s just that. Do a little every day. It gets easier. It’s doing every day that’s hard.