The Writing Habit

What does it take to write a novel?  It is a question I get asked a lot.  The reality is that it is a mix of discipline, persistence, avocation, creativity and addiction.  While this blog entry is focused on fiction, I believe it holds for non-fiction as well.

Discipline – you have to make time to write.  Everyone is different, but for me I write early in the a.m., on airplanes and in hotel rooms when I am on business trips.  The net net, is that if you want to be an author, you have to make time to write.  When is up to you, but you have to do it on some sort of schedule and keep at it.

Persistence – not only do you have to keep writing, but you have to be persistent because, assuming you want your manuscript to be published, there are those who may not like it.  Your style, content, genre, etc. may not be for everyone.  So you have to find a publisher who likes what you write.  It took me a year to find a publisher for BIG MOTHER 40.

Avocation – to be a writer, you have to like to write.  It is a lonely process because there is no one else involved other than you and the keyboard.  This is one skill in which the more you do, the better you get.  You don’t talk about it, you sit down and write.  See discipline.

Creativity – this is the hardest part.  You have to come up with believable characters in believable scenarios woven together in a storyline that is called a plot.  When I am writing, I am thinking and behaving as the character and letting him (or her) tell their part of the story.

Addiction – If you like to write and enjoy the creativity as I do, then writing becomes addictive.  When I am in the midst of writing a book or re-writing sections, finding time to write is not the problem for me.  Making time for my other three jobs is hard.  In other words, writing is what I prefer to do, sometimes to the exclusion of other things and allocating time to other tasks is something I force myself to do.

Marc Liebman

February 22, 2013