Woohoo, guess who came over to our place to play? KC Collins and he has written a guest post exclusively for the FNC. Enjoy!
Trying to plow through my first novel has been a great lesson in humility. As a newspaper reporter, I am more than comfortable with people seeing and giving a critique to the things I write, but this is different. This is me writing with just me. This is me writing with my rules in a world I made up.
Writing something as engrossing as a novel is personal. It's writing coming from my mind and from my heart. It's indepth. Nobody gets to see it until we want them to, usually after it has gone through the wringer of a second or third draft. It's ours, after all. It's our very own persistent labor of love.
Anybody that is writing or has written their first novel knows the intimidation that comes from the blogs and Tweets of agents (I have lost count of how many blogs I've read "Your first novel is never going to get accepted, just so you know!"). As if we don't have enough to think about.
But forget about all that stuff until you're finished with the thing. Once you've got it all polished and ready to roll to prospective agents, then the process is out of your hands anyway. You've done as much as you think you could to that thing before you decided to share your creation with the world.
To me, that personal part of writing is the best part. It's you deciding that you're going to share it with the world. Writing is the only time where we, as writers, get to dive in and bounce around with our own thoughts. And it's just us in there. Nobody else.
That's why you can't afford to forget that this whole thing is for you FIRST. Those times you sit down to type should be times you look forward to every single day, because those are the times you're learning about yourself.
The writing is what got us all to give this a try, so make sure you make the writing the part you have a blast with. Editors can slice it up and agents can send you rejection letters, but they can't remove that fun you had, or the lessons you learned - and taught - yourself along the way.
(K.C. Collins is a longtime newspaper reporter trying to write his first novel. He chronicles the ups and downs of the process on his blog at http://www.onthewritefoot.blogspot.com/