Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Novelist at Work

My new novel has taken up most of my time now, and I’m called to duty.

Writing a novel, to me, is not only more time consuming than blogging, it also burns a lot more brain cells. Blogging is closer to writing a diary. You blog about your personal thoughts, feelings, experiences and observations of life. You can express them in any free form that serves you best; but once you’re done writing a post, that’s it. You are done. Not with writing a novel. You’ll never get done writing it till you write THE END. And that can be many, many moons away.

So here I am, a novelist at work, who enjoys each creative moment to the fullest, just for the sheer joy of writing. In fact, I never care much for what’s called ‘word count’ or ‘quota’ for each day’s writing progress. Many writers do that because they want to enforce a rule on themselves, which they call discipline. I for one believe in discipline only when it means a self-imposed measure to get the work done. So I’m true to that. I write every day. Yet I don’t care how much I can write. I ask myself, ‘Can you write a thousand words each day and make it your daily writing quota?” I say, yes. You can write a thousand or two thousand words a day, if you must. Only to see that you scrap two-thirds of them the next day when you reread them. No, you can’t force yourself to write when you’ve run out of juice. So, just write!

Another thing is I read a lot between writing. Reading while you’re at work on a novel recharges your battery every day. So I read voraciously while I work on a novel. This time around I will be blogging occasionally whenever my brain, between writing my novel, isn’t so depleted with ideas.

So, I’ll send up a smoke signal now and then—not a SOS, but more like a campfire smoke: Time for a campfire story.


  1. I've tried to write many novels – all science fiction. They never really went anywhere.

    This blogging thing was supposed to be about my fiction. Now it's what I write.

    Good journey to you, on your latest novel, Khanh.

  2. Thanks, Sang, for dropping by. When you've found your voice in the genre that best suits it, don't look back. And your writing is crisp, refreshing.

  3. Reading is good! I thought I already left a comment on this post???

  4. Yay. Novel uses a different set of skills. Blogging is actually akin to conversation. Things just flow.
    Anyway, good luck with it. Surface from time to time!

  5. Oh, by the way. I'm sending over a young man who wants to write a book. I think he needs to just start, rather than worrying about hiring a co-author. I think he'll get a lot out of reading this post.