By Camille Pagán; journalist and the author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling novel Life and Other Near-Death Experiences.
1. Writing a novel is a lot like running a marathon or birthing a child. The further along you are, the more it hurts. But the only way out is through.
2. And then you finish and forget all the pain, and it’s amazing. There are few things more exciting than seeing your name on the cover of a book for the first time.
3. Every writing milestone is worth celebrating. New book idea? Buy yourself some chocolate and a good cup of coffee! First chapter written, and it’s actually good? Time for champagne! First draft finished? Nice dinner and more champagne! The thing about writing is that you may spend months or even years on a book that never sees the light of day. But that doesn’t mean it’s a waste. It’s all good if you approach it that way.
4. Half of everyone you’ve ever met will assume your protagonists are really you in disguise. And even though you know they’re not, it is true that there are little pieces of you in every character you create.
5. The other half will assume you’re writing about them. Stealing people’s lives feels like cheating, but nothing you say will ever convince anyone otherwise.*
6. *Your cause will not be helped by the fact that you accidentally use a childhood acquaintance’s name in your first novel and don’t realize it until another childhood friend points it out to you.
7. There are mean-spirited people out there, and they will write cruel reviews—about your book, and maybe even about you as a person. But here’s the thing: if you met these people in real life, you wouldn’t like them very much anyway. They’re not your people. So you learn to ignore them and keep writing.
8. This is made easier by the fact that your people—that is, the readers youare writing for—will email and approach you at readings and say things like, “Your book got me through a hard time in life,” or “Your novel made me feel less alone.” They will remind you that you do have something worth saying, and that someone out there is waiting to read it.