What was the one thing you did that most helped you write a novel?

by SJ Griffin

OK. You might not like this, but if you don’t take comfort in this: this is just me and you are not me, you are you. You’re probably going to disprove my theory. I hope you are.

The one thing that helped me write a novel was not having an idea for a story, it was not finding the time to write (that is the worst excuse by the way) and it wasn’t buying any product. One thing made all the difference in the world. And it was this:

I stopped writing short stories.

Short stories are nice, aren’t they? I can write one in an afternoon, revise it in a morning and then go back to it a week later and finish it off. There are loads of places to send them too. There’s people that do readings, there’s magazines, there’s websites. It’s almost like the world needs an endless supply of short stories to keep it turning. Of course what this means is there’s loads of opportunity for rejection. For envy. But it’s OK because you’ll get that one break you need and someone with some power, someone who can make your dream come true will hear your short story and give you that book deal for your novel, your masterpiece. Except they won’t.  And even if they did, you know what? You’ll still have to write that novel. And not one single short story I wrote prepared me for the task of writing a novel. It’s a completely different animal. Not better, not worse, but different. Like a tiger and a lion. I sat myself down and said this to myself: Look, you want to write a novel. So why don’t you just do that? Then you’ll be a step closer.

The other thing I did was taking up distance running but that’s a whole other story. And not a short one.