My dream, ever since I was in fifth grade, was to be a writer. I remember the first poetry “book” I had to write in Mrs. Zondervan’s language arts class. It really filled my little heart with pride to have “written a book”–a book which, unfortunately, has been lost to time. I also remember bringing up an idea with my best friend, the principal’s secretary, for a school newspaper which I would write and put together and she would print for me. That dream died when she told me that she couldn’t make 300 plus copies of my single-page “newspaper” for me. Still, gradually over the next several years, my dream of becoming a writer has only gotten bigger. Thus far, the only things I have to show for my biggest ambition are a few email rejection letters from venues such as Daily Science Fiction, Flash Fiction Online and Clarkesworld.
Those have been for short stories, though. Over the past several years I have conjured up a long list of potential novels and plot scenarios that I’ve attempted to start writing, but never got past the first couple of pages. I always attributed this problem to writer’s block, but now I feel that the problem lies more with my confidence level than with a lack of creativity. No matter how hard I try to persevere in my writing endeavours I always end up failing miserably.
Why can’t I write a novel?
I’m a young writer, I’m not going to deny it. I’m 23 years old with nothing but a burning desire to become a published writer and alot of reading to my name. I’ve never taken a creative writing class and my own writing practice seems to be very spread out. Some of you obvious, common sense-type people may be thinking that I just admitted my problems and that I should start writing more and enroll in some creative writing classes. However, these problems of mine are problems that I’ve had for a really long time, not just recently. At the beginning of this year I was writing several blog posts a day for both my own website (idkhowtowrite.wordpress.com) and sharedblogg.wordpress.com and attempting to write one story a week (a goal which, I’m ashamed to admit, has failed miserably.) Even at the height of my early 2013 writing “prime” I still could not push past the first couple of pages of novels I started. I would be so excited about starting what I dreamed would be a bestseller of the start of a popular series, and as I wrote and reread what I wrote I fell in love with the blossoming story. Such love wouldn’t last very long, though.
Almost every time I put the stories aside for the night and woke up the next morning and started rereading them I found myself reading the work of a child. A child who was so excited about telling a story that the only thing I had written down were simple sentences, an adult novel that read like a Dr. Seuss book.
Ok, maybe I wouldn’t go THAT far, but you know what I mean.
I read books from some of my idols like John Scalzi and Paul di Filippo, and classics from the likes of H.G. Wells and Philip K. Dick, Asimov and my idol Ray Bradbury. I long to be like them and write books that people will enjoy for the rest of their lives. I’m always thinking of new stories, new plots and new characters. I have an ambition that burns brighter than any star and a desktop computer just waiting to be typed on.
Yet still I can’t write a novel.
Am I maybe being too hard on my flegling writing skills? What advice do the great blog masters of Shared Blogg have for this amatuer? How do I write a novel?