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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Mileusnic

What I've learned writing my first novel

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

I wrote a novel. It's not done done, but I have a solid fifth or sixth draft. What is done, really? Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. (But, truly, there are facts to confirm, details to flesh out.)

Some lessons:

- Don't keep sending your writing group 80K words and later go back and say, Nevermind! I totally changed that part.

- I am a pantser, meaning I write by the seat of my pants with only a vague idea where I'm going.

- There are an infinite number of resources on the craft of writing, finding an agent, getting published, making a living as a writer, gleaning satisfaction from your writing hobby even if you never make a penny from it. Et cetera. Good, but bad for analysis paralysis.

- Still: so many fabulous writing podcasts!

- Blogging was a thing people did fifteen years ago and not so much anymore.

- Writing a novel is hard, but not as hard as I'd thought. Not insurmountable.

- The blank page is your enemy. Just vomit out words until something forms. This has been the hardest part. I love to edit and wordsmith text to within an inch of its life. I learned from R.O. Kwon during her marketing blitz for The Incendiaries not to get stuck for years rewriting Chapter One.

- A social media presence is necessary. Being active and interesting on Twitter is not something that comes naturally to me.

- Informal plug for novel software Dabble, which is super intuitive, especially compared to Scrivener.

- So many nice people are willing to help! Friends and strangers alike. For example, author Yvette Yun has been extremely generous with her time, offering formal and informal mentoring to writers like me. Thank you, everyone! Also: if I haven't approached you yet to be a beta reader, don't think I won't... your time is coming.

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