Last November I started a novel for the NaNovWriMo contest--write a novel in November. Meanwhile my son came to live with me out of the blue, one thing and another thing happened, and I ended up having to drop out. But I always planned to write that novel. The characters came to me one morning when I was journaling. They told me their full names, what they looked like, their birth dates, their interests and hobbies, their fears--everything. I was attached to them and promised I would write a novel for them to be in.
Well I am doing it now in January. I got a second chance to get the novel-writing adrenaline going, there's a deadline and a three-month time limit (It started Jan. 1, so I missed the first four weeks). I can't seem to write a novel without a fire of some kind lit under me. Then I spied a novel writing contest on FanStory.com. Same deal as NaNovWriMo--3 months, 50,000 words. I started a few days ago and I'm more than halfway there. As of tonight, I have 28,709 words. It's going well. All my characters showed up ready for action. Some readers might say they do more talking than anything, but I've been getting reviews that say my characters are loveable. I certainly love them. If you want to see what I've been doing instead of blogging, check out my novel.
I try to do my morning journaling and I end up writing this novel in longhand. It's all I want to do. My Great God, what fun writing is.
If you've always wanted to write a novel, screenplay, play, memoir, e-book, print book or whatever it is, just begin and it will come. It really is like that Field of Dreams--Build it and they will come. The ideas will pop into your head as though they are being dictated by another person. Synchronicity will see to it that you run into just the right webpage, word, idea... It's magic. And immediately you see where and how it goes into what you're working on.
Make a goal for yourself and decide how many words you'll write per day. This contest says I'd be in good shape to meet the deadline if I wrote 400 words per day. I have been trying to catch up so I have been writing more like 10,000 with no problem. Of course it's all I do. I don't blog, visit Facebook, read my e-mail and all that, but this is temporary, and I am doing some of that now.
I really do recommend FanStory for anyone who writes or wants to write. I believe it is one of the better writers' communities. I have been a member for a few years. In fact, I won first place in a contest they had with my first novel. The people on the website, your peers and fellow writers, are amazing. I have found friends and mentors from whom I have learned a great deal and continue to learn. I am in awe of their work. Everyone reviews your work honestly but is never negative. An honest criticism will be pointed out so you can fix it.
There are so many contests you can enter it keeps things interesting and fun. The ones where you can win $100 are free to enter. Others may cost you a few member dollars which is the monopoly type currency we play with and receive when we win contests or review the work of others. Oh yeah, and you use member dollars to promote your writing. It needs to have a certificate, and you can add banners and other things to make it worth more to reviewers.
If you're a poet, it's the place to come. FS writers know more poetry forms and styles than I ever dreamt were invented and I studied poetry as an English major in college. They are currently collecting the best of the various poetry forms from poets to use as samples to help others know how to write the form.
There's playwriting, novels, of course, flash fiction, essays, short stories... And on the other side of the partition is Fan Story Art. There are some super artistists working there, very original, fresh creations. The artists will lend you their work to go with your writing when it's posted if you ask.
I hope to see you over there. There's a whole large contingent of FS writers on my Facebook pages. In fact FB has a FS page.
Now start writing that novel you always wanted to write. It's just one word, one line, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time and before you know it you're a novelist.