How to write a book…hmm. The title of this post (while trying to interject a bit of humor) is not that far fetched. I have no doubt that for every author still breathing and for those who no longer do so, that there are as many ways to pen a novel. Some start with a rough idea while others adhere to a strict outline starting with the first letter of the preface and ending with the “d” in “the end.”
To more understand my approach to writing I need to share a little of my personal makeup with you. I am the most organized person with an unbelievable knack for disorganization. The only thing I don’t procrastinate doing is procrastinating and writing. That being said it should come as no surprise as to my style of writing.
To put it into context, imagine it’s nineteen sixty-five. I’m sitting patiently at my writer’s desk, my ink stained fingers gingerly tapping away nearly thirty words each and every minute averaging a mere eighty mistakes. I make sure that I double space between sentences and swoon at the satisfying ding as the carriage slides to the left, awaiting its next command.
A basketball sized spiral of not used but destroyed typewriter ribbon lay on my desk. It mocks me in the fact that its residue covers nearly as much of my skin as not. I raise a hand to swat the glistening ink mass and then think better of it. Remembering the last confrontation with my smudge empowered nemesis I lower my hand, not caring to add to the carnage already inflicted upon my person. I sense a menacing leer as my hand touches the desktop. (I’m talking about the real top of a desk.)
A mound of trash begins to gather in a circular pattern on the floor after pieces of paper are repeatedly ripped from the typewriter carriage, crushed and tossed into the waste paper basket until it spills over the edge…and this is just the first chapter!
That would have been me nearly fifty years ago. My twenty-first century equivalent would push a button and stare at a blank screen, with a vague idea, and begin to type letting the story write itself. Of course my ultra efficient thirty words a minute with only eighty mistakes is still an important part of my proficient writing style. (Thankfully without the mess.)
The way I write is as comfortable as an old shoe, as I hope yours is for you. Ya know, for every work I could have completed in nineteen sixty-five I bet I could have managed five or six today. I guess that makes me a novel writing machine.