Alice K. Boatwright

The Writing Life

Notes on writing, reading, publishing and life

Alice K. Boatwright

How do you go from dreaming about writing a book to having written one?

I started out writing short stories, which is good practice for developing your style and voice, but it didn’t prepare me for the demands of writing a book. The length of a book overwhelmed me. I could dash out a first draft, but I didn’t have the courage or stamina to face the long journey from started to finished.

Then I read Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande – a book that was not about how to write, but instead offered practical advice about the habits and commitment needed to get the job done. For example, write at the same time every day, and the muse will show up if you are there, pencil in hand.

Around this time, I also took a full-time job that meant I had to write early in the morning or I was never going to write fiction at all. That possibility scared me so much, I began to do it. Every morning, I fed the cat, made my tea, sat down at my computer, and opened my book file. I didn’t do anything else for 30 minutes or an hour, and it worked. Page by page, I wrote the book I had dreamed of writing. And I rewrote and rewrote and submitted and rewrote and until it was published. And now I have even done it again.

Read more on my Paris Writer tumblr blog