Tuesday, February 6, 2018

# THE WRITER'S LIFE # WRITING

If You Just Write, You Won't Go Wrong l Tom Nixon @tnixon16


If You Just Write, You Won’t Go Wrong

When word got out that I had completed the manuscript for my first published novel, the news was met with both congratulations and questions from friends and family. The two most common sentiments were some variation of “What an achievement!” and “How did you do that?”

To both, I thought to myself, “Anyone can write a book. While appreciated, why such the fuss?” To me, writing the book was the easy part. Getting started was the difficult part.

Let me explain. As someone who has been writing for as long as I can remember, the act of writing was never something I considered to be an accomplishment in and of itself. Writing was an action, not an end. Perhaps I took for granted, all these years, how daunting the task of completing a full-length manuscript was to someone who wasn’t used to writing.

But I grew up writing. An English major in college, and a lover of creative expression of all kinds, I’ve written everything from novels to screenplays to music to children’s stories. The writing always seemed like the easy thing to do. The obstacles were getting going…and then, once completed, making sure your work would see the proverbial light of day.

But in 2017, I hadn’t written anything creatively in 20 years. It had always been a dream of mine to be a professional author. But my early endeavors were met with the reality of the extremely long odds of breaking into the business as a budding author. Manuscripts and queries submitted to publishing houses went unanswered. Drafts went unread. It was a difficult thing to get noticed — let alone get published — in the mid 1990s. But 20 years later, self-publishing platforms became ubiquitous (chief among them, CreateSpace, which I used to publish my book on Amazon.com, which enables the book to be purchased online wherever books are sold).

So distribution was no longer the main stumbling block. No. Getting started was.

Avoiding Paralysis By Analysis
Where to begin? Now dormant for two decades plus, my creative juices were both latent and percolating at once. Over the years, I had come up with four or five stories that I had planned to write “some day.” January 2017, some day had arrived.

Four or five ideas. Can’t write them all at once. Where to begin…where to begin?

I knew if I let that question fester for long, I’d never get going. I didn’t want to become paralyzed by inaction. So I did what every writer does best.

I wrote.

I opened the laptop, and wrote the first sentence to my novel. “Everybody knows someone like Joel Thomas.”

At the time, I had no idea what those words meant. But it was a start. The cork was popped. Now, I had to explain who Joel Thomas was, and why I was writing his story.

Not knowing myself where this would lead, I just kept writing. Joel Thomas was a very ordinary sort…unremarkable, in fact. In a way, these weren’t my own words…they simply flowed through me and into the document.

As I wrote, I described an ordinary man with an ordinary life. This led me to my first twist. If Joel is so ordinary and boring, why will anyone care about him? Then it hit me. Because Joel Thomas would suddenly disappear.

And I was off. I now knew the story I was going to tell. It would be a suspenseful, twist-laden mystery…but one with sentimentality and nostalgia (as is so frequently my wont). It was a combination of all four-to-five stories I had considered writing all those years.

Two months later, the first draft was complete. Truth be told, the story just came out. It had been bottled like a genie for 20+ years, and just needed to be released. It flowed through me, like I was simply the channel through which it poured. I couldn’t believe it myself. How could this be so easy…when it had been so difficult for two decades?

The Moral of My Story
Because I started. I made it a resolution in the new year of 2017 to do it, and I did it. I wouldn’t let anything stop me…not even an over-analysis of what the finished product would be. I just wrote.

And that’s the point. My advice to anyone who is considering writing that book they’ve long held in the back of his or her mind is simple: just write. Start. Don’t overthink where it will go. Just get going.

In the end, if nothing else, you will have accomplished what my friends and family — and now you, likely — once considered to be such an insurmountable achievement: writing that first book.

May inspiration be with you.
About the Author

Tom Nixon is an author and entrepreneur with writing credits to his name that span artistic genres. He has written multiple novels, two screenplays, several short stories, a children’s story, and has five music albums in his catalogue, for which he wrote both music and lyrics. He discovered his passion for writing and reading at an early age, going on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan. He resides in Michigan with his wife and children, along with a couple of the canine variety.

His latest book is the suspense novel, The Long Lost.

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About the Book:

Title: THE LONG LOST
Author: Tom Nixon
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 418
Genre: Suspense

BOOK BLURB: 
The sudden and strange disappearance of Joel Thomas brings together his ex-wife and best friend in a search for answers. As Mary and Jason seek out the truth, their quest consistently turns up more questions than clues. In another time, the story of a long-time group of college friends plays out across 30 years of history, revealing the highs and lows of a group that vowed to maintain their friendship until death. Is the answer to Joel’s mysterious departure found in a simple note sent to Mary, or is it locked somewhere back in time? Told in alternating voices and timelines, Nixon’s The Long Lost tells a story of both intrigue and suspense — along with sentimentality and introspection — as he examines the painful discoveries realized when childhood friends grow up...and grow apart.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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1 comment:

Tom Nixon said...

Thanks for allowing me to offer up this guest post. I hope it encourages others to write!

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