A Bad Book From the Soul (Big Dreams Blog Update #7)

It’s that time again. On the last Friday of every month the Big Dream bloggers update their status on their goals. Hosted by authors Misha Gericke and Beth Fred, 19 participants have made a public pledge to fulfill their big, crazy goals together.

As a part of this monthly (but kinda really daily) blog hop, I’m trying to reach my goal of writing a million words. Only completed works count, so I’m sitting at a big fat goose egg, but as you can see the bar on the side is filling up with the tentative amount of my current WIPs.

In other news, I have this Write-o-Meter app and it has this cool feature where it offers quotes from authors about writing. Some of the quotes are ‘meh’, but others are pretty brilliant.

To be honest I didn’t have a topic for this post until yesterday morning when I was plugging in my word count in said app and this quote popped up at the top: “A bad book is as much a labour to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author’s soul.”

It’s from Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World among his other works. Of course Huxley had no problem with belting out a good book (as far as I’m concerned), but that”s not the point.

As a reader I come across both bad books and good books, or at least what I consider a distinction between bad and good. A good book is like a bad book, and vice versa, and the difference is one has good writing the other bad.

What am I going on about? I realize that I’ve been judging my own writing this way. All these years I’ve been wanting to finish a novel, and the only thing that’s been stopping me is…myself.

Not time (I had/have plenty of that), not passion (again, I’m chock full of it), and not even skill (how would I know what I’m bad at? For the sake of plugging in a popular quote, here’s Nora Roberts saying, “You can fix anything but a blank page”. There’s so much variants of this quote, but it sums it down. How can I judge my skill if I don’t complete anything?)

Sidetracking here, but bare with me.
I think two of the most common questions an author is asked are:

1) Where do you get your ideas from? (Hint: Stephen King has the almighty answer to this one.)
2) How do you write a book?

This second one requires a REALLY elaborate formula. In the words of author Heather Brewer: “Butt + Chair = Productivity.”

Although apparently there is a formula for successful, NYT-bestselling trends.

Since my last update day, I’ve decided to join the madness that is called Camp NaNoWriMo. My goal was a combined word count of 30K towards my current two projects, the Novella Fanfic and another project I’ll talk more about in a later post. I’m on track with 5 days to go, I should hit my goal of 30K by April 30.

But I’ve been writing every day this month, and I’m absolutely proud of myself. It will be the first month this year that I’ve written consecutively. Very exciting.

If anyone asked how I did it, I wouldn’t be able to explain. Why didn’t I start writing back on New Years’ Day when I made a promise to write every day this year? Why now?

Some things don’t have an explanation.

If anything it might just be that I’ve learned to let go. To let myself write a bad book (or a good one). To write from the soul or the heart or wherever my passion is stored.

And as I started with a quote, I’ll end this post with some more favourites I’ve come across during my pastime of stalking author vlogs/blogs/interviews, etc.

Kody Keplinger offers writing tips in her video for young writers–although I think the tips could be used by any interested writers. Scroll to 2:46 for Tip #5: “Don’t give yourself a deadline”… at least for publication. You don’t have control of publication, but you do have a control of whether you write.

Tough love @ 1:52 around from Jackson Pearce in this next video. “But saying ‘What if I write a book and it isn’t good before you’ve written the book is kind of like saying ‘What if a year from now I’m eating dinner and it isn’t delicious?”

And more non-video quotes.

“Sit your butt in the chair and write. Remember, writing is rewriting. Your first draft will be like smearing poop onto the screen of your computer. It will suck that bad. But go in and edit, edit, edit. Then once you’ve edited, edit some more!” – Anna Banks

“It’s not easy but it is exciting to consider the possibilities. It all starts with page one and ends 300 some pages later. Even if it’s a stinker, at least it’s an accomplishment that has a tangible result; a huge pile of paper with words you typed from your very own brain. No one else can do THAT for you. Then if you actually finish the damn thing and want to try to publish it, there are a whole new host of obstacles to overcome. Of course, if you never finish, you’ll never have to worry about any of that.” – Lisa Medley
“I’d slave away over my first draft, finding just the right words, and six months later have some great-sounding chapters but no book. When I heard, “Dare to suck,” it was as liberating for me as, “Prolific writers don’t have clean houses.” Dare to suck. If we want to get the story on the page, that’s exactly what we need to do—turn off the internal editor and write, write, write. So what if it’s dreck. Dreck can be fixed.” – Carol J. Post

“A book is crafted one sentence at a time. Don’t worry about the last sentence in the manuscript–worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later.” – Chloe Neill

You know I just realized I could make a good book full of these quotes. Huh?

2 thoughts on “A Bad Book From the Soul (Big Dreams Blog Update #7)

  1. Yes, but you're going to rock this rewrite and hit that million word jackpot!

    Neither of us have deadlines for the one million (do you?), so that takes a stress off our shoulders. Although i'm barely qualified to give advice, I'm starting to learn that words add up. Small words, big words, and stupid words add up.:D

    When we hit that million we'll celebrate with some partying!


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