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Everybody wants to write a novel…and a blog.

It feels like everybody these days wants to write a novel.  And why not?  It’s a romantic notion:  dream up an idea, craft beautiful language that will move even the most cold-hearted or uninterested readers and become immortalized in the world of published literature.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  For some, yes. 

For others it’s a lifelong dream with lots of pitfalls.  Speaking of pitfalls, do you all remember that classic Atari game?  As kids, my brother and I spent hours trying to beat the high score, take a picture of the television screen and mail it to the Atari Company in hopes of getting the coveted Pitfall champion patch. Guess what? In spite of all the mailed-off Polaroids, we never did receive that patch (or anything else) from Atari.  Sounds a bit like publishing a novel, doesn’t it?

Writing a novel – or anything, for that matter – is the equivalent of jumping into the game of Pitfall.  You arm yourself with all the right tools: a brilliant idea, proper grammar, inspired turns of phrase.  Then you take a leap of faith hoping that Pitfall Harry’s toolbox of writerly tricks is enough to get you over the lagoon filled with alligators.  And even if you make it over that pool of snapping reptiles known as your internal editor(s) and grab that golden brick (a finished manuscript), you still have to scrounge up enough courage to throw yourself into the dreaded slush pile.  From there, you’re just another Polaroid in the Atari Company’s post office box – waiting to hear if that darned patch will ever be yours.  That’s the hard part.

What makes this writing venture a bit easier is remembering that we’re all in this together.  Most of us seize up when faced with a blank page or computer screen.  We all doubt the triteness of our situations or the cliche of our comparisons.  I (and every other writer I know) wake up in the middle of the night with an amazing idea, only to shoot it full of holes the next morning and bemoan that fact that I’ll never have another creative idea.  Somewhere in the midst of it all we stumble on one phrase or plot point that makes us tingle with glee.  It’s that milli-second when the self-editor stops blabbing, and even she has to admit that you’ve stumbled upon a tiny bit of magic, that keeps us coming back.

It’s my hope that this blog will serve up some ideas and inspriation and arm you with a sense of community (even if it’s a virtual one), to steel you against the sassy voice of your internal editor, to buoy you when you’ve gotten another form letter from a real-live editor, and to help you remember that in spite of his rugged-yet-pixelated good looks, Pitfall Harry can’t make it on his own.  And neither can any of us.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Welcome, everybody. Feel free to join the coversation in the comments or if you want more privacy, send me an email to sara@saratoolemiller.com.

    September 28, 2011
  2. emmiemears #

    Hmmm. “Stumbled across a tiny bit of magic.” I love that. I feel an inspiration happening. I just might follow that trail to a blog…and I’ll be sure to link back here so they can see where it came from. 🙂

    October 27, 2011
    • I love it when you find a bucketful of inspiration from one tiny phrase that someone else throws out. I look forward to reading that blog once you get it going.

      October 27, 2011
  3. Love this post! Just commented on your Freshly Pressed piece, but this is a great way to introduce yourself…and I’m glad I’ve subscribed already. Look forward to speaking with you about writing!

    October 27, 2011
    • Thanks for stopping by, sportsjim81. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on writing, too.

      October 27, 2011
  4. You’re right. It tends to be that, the more I talk with other writers, the easier it becomes. I’ve recently begun performing more often with the slam community, to mean professional poets who perform slam poetry for money. And it’s very inspiring to perform with nationally-recognized poets, because it gives you a kick. Of inspiration and competition.
    You realize that other people have achieved something along these literary paths, so why not you as well?

    October 28, 2011
    • Congrats to you, Derek, for performing in the slam community. What an inspirational group of artists! Best of luck to you with the poetry and your NaNo novel from last year. Thanks for stopping by.

      October 28, 2011

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