It’s that time of year again—blustery days, icy mornings, and colorful leaves drifting through the air. Oh—and novel writing time.
As October is blowing into November, writers everywhere are battening down the hatches and preparing to hunker down and pound madly away at their keyboards for thirty days in hopes of reaching 50,000 words. Maybe you’re part of that crew. If so, I’ve got valuable information for you.
Do you run on a tight schedule? Between taking classes, working a day-job, keeping up with errands, and struggling to make time for your writing, you may feel a little overwhelmed. Well guess what? You’re not alone.
Being a writer in a fast-paced, distraction-fraught world is tough. It takes discipline, focus, and grit. You know your time is precious, and you do your best to snag every little bit of extra you can horde away. Time is to the busy writer what gold is to a dragon; the problem is, we’re all-too-easily robbed.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. I’ll often spend more time analyzing my work than I do actually working. (Oh hey, I’m doing it right now with these opening sentences. What a great start.)
If you’re a perfectionist, don’t feel bad. You have great qualities, such as diligence, loyalty, and a desire for excellence. We need people like you and I in this world, but as perfectionists, we’ve got to learn how to manage our gifts, lest they become a hindrance.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve finally started dipping my toes back into the pool of writing fiction. I’m finally developing a story idea into a real book after more than a year of “absent creativity”—and at last, I had a revelation: my creativity hadn’t really been gone; it had merely been asleep, recharging.
When I was a teenager, my dream was to be a novelist. I would sit in my room at my desk for hours, plotting, writing, editing. The “life of a writer” consumed me. This was all I ever wanted: for it to be me, my characters, and my world. And of course, one day, a best-selling novel. But things didn’t quite work out that way.
If you’re a writer, you may have heard of NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month), where authors sprint to fifty-thousand words in just thirty days. If you’re not a writer, you’re probably wondering what possessed me to do something so stupid.
NaNoWriMo usually takes place in November, but halfway through April, I decided that I needed to write a novel now. I was tired of waiting for inspiration to strike from somewhere in the great beyond, so at the beginning of May, I did something I haven’t done in years: I just sat down and started writing.
I haven’t done a book review in awhile, but Salt to the Sea deserves one. What follows will be spoiler-free, so fear not, friends, and read on.
I’ve talked several times on here about why reading is a great pastime, and why you should read more books. But if you only read one book this summer, it should be this one. And should you survive the journey, there are always other books to continue on with.
In this culture, we’re okay with living small. We don’t like risks—especially if those risks may end up costing or hurting us. It’s scary to step out too far, so we rarely do. Living small is comfortable.
It’s difficult to break out of the mediocrity of small living: the comfort zone. Yet deep down, we long for more. For adventure. We thirst for a bigger purpose, and so we turn to stories.