Okay, so here I go:
It drives me crazy to see so many people suggesting that if you want to write a book, you should just start writing. I mean, seriously???
That’s like telling someone who wants to be a surgeon to just start slicing.
If you want to be a writer, you first need to READ!! You need to read tons of books in the genre you want to write in, read books on the craft of writing, and read the classics. Then, after you get a feel for what good writing sounds and reads like, find a bunch of crappy books and read those.
(I’d be happy to offer the first novel I ever wrote when I was 21 called THE FACADE as a crappy read. It sits happily in a dark, dank drawer where it will remain for all eternity…RIP.)
During this time, you should write thoughts, journal entries, exercises from the craft books, bad poetry, good poetry, outline for your book, dreams, short stories, micro-short stories, and anything else that comes to mind. These EXERCISES will strengthen your skills as a writer.
BUT PLEASE DON’T TRY TO PUBLISH THEM!!
These are simply exercises to train you. You need to spend a few years reading and practicing before you begin to write that breakout novel.
Most writers agree it takes ten years and three novels before they are capable of writing something worthy of publication. If this is true of the greats, why should you or I be any exception?
I mean, do you want to establish your reputation as a writer by sharing your “homework”? Or do you want to have your debut novel be a polished, professional manuscript?
Basically, would you want an accountant turned surgeon overnight performing your surgery? Or a stay-at-home mom whose butchered a few chickens cutting into you?
So why would you think you could write a novel when you’ve never read or studied the craft?