So You’ve Ruined Your Life, I Mean, Decided to Write a Novel

So You’ve Ruined Your Life Simpsons Pamphlet

Classic Simpsons satire.

I must be on some kind of spring high right now. My synapses are firing away. I’ve been thinking more about how I label myself as a writer—and how that means I need to just do it already. Good for me. I spent a large part of last weekend using the momentum I’ve drummed up to get cracking on a lot of ideas. And then I woke up on Sunday morning and decided to ruin my life as I know it. I’m going to write a novel.



I declared my intentions online (if it’s on Facebook, it must be true), and I even uttered the tiny capsule of the premise to a friend (“it’s a story about complicated relationships and the end of the world”).

I know I can write 50,000 words. I’ve done NaNoWriMo, way back in 2007 and then again 2008. Perhaps I scarred myself by going for that wild ride two years in a row, because I haven’t done it since.

The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that when I focused on only the word count, not character development or plot or any of those pesky novel details, I was able to show up and create. The self-editor takes a backseat when you just need to crank out the words. I didn’t avoid or procrastinate, because I wanted to finish. That much devotion to writing is contagious. Those novels, if you can call them that, are the result of sitting down and typing for almost two hours every day for a month. Do I have what it takes to do that, and more, to see a real story, a true investment, from start to finish?

This new novel that I’m thinking of, the one I’ve outlined just a bit, is already starting to consume me.

I spend a lot of time dealing with the end products of novels or the close-to-the-end products. Poring over drafts of manuscripts, articles on book marketing, lovely discussions on the nature of fiction and the old adage of writing what you know. I work and study and work and study. I listen to the experts and their daunting instructions: Have a marketing plan in the beginning. Pick your target audience. Don’t stop after the book is done. Strategize, strategize, strategize.

I’m not going to lie—I’m scared. But deep down I know I can toss out all that advice if I want to. I can stop myself from jumping too far ahead. Because I know why I want to give in and let something like writing a novel take over my life. I might not mind selling a ton of books or becoming a household name, but that’s not why I’m jumping into this game. I just want to tell stories.


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13 Responses to “So You’ve Ruined Your Life, I Mean, Decided to Write a Novel”

  1. Kim Bookless says:

    I’m so excited for you, Cassandra — your enthusiasm is contagious! I can’t wait to read your book.

    • EditCassandra says:

      Thank you, Kim! I keep thinking how Samantha Hoffman said it took her eight years to write her novel. I find that comforting! 🙂

  2. Carrie says:

    I think public declarations are great for accountability and, I say, get cracking on that novel, Ms. Cassandra! But, seriously, I admire you tremendously for doing what you love and must be done because you just can’t live with yourself if you don’t DO IT! 🙂

    • EditCassandra says:

      Awww, shucks, thanks, Carrie! You, too, are always a source of inspiration for me. So glad you’re in my cheering section!

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  5. Forest Parks says:

    Good luck with the novel!

    I don’t see myself as a very good writer at all but am seriously considering writing a kind of hand book regarding my being vegan. If that works out then I have a few stories in my head that I would love to develop into a novel one day!

    • EditCassandra says:

      Love that idea! Writing takes practice and many, many drafts. Even if you don’t think you’re “good” now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Stories want and need to be told! I recommend starting a blog or some other form where you’ll be forced to practice your writing on a regular basis. Good luck and keep me posted!

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