Fiction for Beginners

January 12, 2010

Last week was the week I was supposed to get right down to it: writing a novel. Most days I feel like I’m pretty good at this writing thing. I got a really nice compliment on it the other day. I can crack open a file and find evidence that I have gotten college credit for being good at it in the past. Once or twice, I even got published. I have more than five linear feet of desk space devoted to books about the craft and trade of writing.

I still have to drag myself to the keyboard.

My fiction writing student got a rejection letter last week. It was an email from an editor, and it had those magic words: “try me again”! This is a big deal. I was thrilled and I told him so. I am, apparently, also good at teaching beginning fiction.

And yet… I am such a noob. I wanna be like Dave Barry and the rest of the “we don’t get writer’s block” set. Or like Steven King, and everyone else who knows how to sit down in a chair, at the same time every day, no matter what.

So, 2:00 PM is the new Novel Writing Time. Jerry Cleaver suggests that people with my problem try just sitting there for five minutes, thinking, “This is novel time,” for the first week. I don’t think I’m doing quite that badly, but I guess I’ll find out for sure tomorrow. My cell phone has this nifty alarm feature; that should help.