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How I Wrote 5 Novels (and Survived to Tell the Tale) Part 1

I started my first "serious" book project back in 2010. It was started in a notebook with sloppy handwriting and no real knowledge of plot, character development or grammar. It was fueled by my creativity and imagination. I didn't finish it, but I was very proud I'd even managed to write a first chapter.

I accidentally deleted this book off my laptop, erasing all my hard work. Now I only have the tattered notebook with incomplete scenes written in it.

But that's okay, because this first project led me to another project (which led me to another project - one that I actually managed to complete).

I finished my first novel (titled The Memory Keeper) in 2013, almost a year after I started it. A lot of trial and error went on with this first draft. Quite frankly, I had no idea what the heck I was doing. But after assessing, refining and learning what process worked best for me, five lessons emerged.

Read more below.


I've had my fair share of unfinished projects, it's just part of the writing process. When I start a project and it doesn't feel right, I have two options. Edit my course and push on, or set it aside. I try my best to complete the things I start, but that may not always be an option, especially if you start something and you're not passionate about it.

When I started writing a piece entitled "Never Let Go" it was hard, because I lost my passion after the first month. Then I had the idea for "The Memory Keeper" and decided it would be best to set NLG aside and listen to my muse and shuffle through TMK.

Good thing I did too, because I stayed up that first night, writing and writing and writing. I got over three thousand words typed into a Word document before I felt I was going to pass out from staying up so late. I remember getting up the next morning, and sitting right back down to write even more. It felt invigorating. It felt productive. Why?

Because the passion was there.
(And my muse was in the right place.)


The good feelings I felt during that first week of The Memory Keeper made me think I was going to write the book and sell it within the year. I kept thinking, "People will buy this. People will love this."

Then I hit a snag.

A drawl.

The mystifying (apparently non-existent) writer's block found its way into my world.

I couldn't think of anything. I would type three words before feeling the need to backspace. I was lucky to get one sentence I liked out on the page. It was like my brain had shut down. Like my body had used up all its creative juices. This blockage - when I went through it for the first time - left me feeling defeated. I wanted to write and I wanted to write well. But I felt couldn't. So I gave up.

Several days later, a new idea came to me. And the process started over again. I would write write write until the block smacked me down. But this time, I was ready. You want to know what I did?

I kept writing.

It looked ugly. It felt ugly. It probably was ugly. But after I got the trickle of words going, it turned into a steady stream. And after several brainstorming sessions, I picked up on an idea I wanted, pushing me to write even more.

This process of writing a lot and barely writing at all continued throughout the whole book, becoming a normal event in my writing life. When I feel drained of creativity, I remind myself to push through and endure. After all, it's not so much about the outcome as it is about the process.

+ + +

Tune in next week for part two! :) Thank you for reading.

xx Nicole Rose


  1. WOW!
    Rosie, thank you so much for this post. <3

  2. Oooh ooh ooh, I'm super excited for this post (and the next coming) I love writing more than (ironically) words can explain, so I'm always interested in reading how others go about writing their own things. Do you plan to self publish any of your books? I'd love to read one :)
    xx Juli

  3. I always start a novel with vigor, but lose steam as I go on. Sometimes I manage to power through, but by the end I'm always exhausted and fed up with my characters and ready to start something new.

  4. Great advice! Writing novels can often be like me during sprinting-- I start of great for the first 15 seconds, and then everything goes deadpan after that. Passion and energy keeps me going, yes!

    xoxo Morning

  5. This is great—writing is good, but it's also good to reflect on our writing and know what we've done that works and hasn't. It's amazing that you've gotten through so many books so far, and I hope your passion and endurance keep seeing you through! :)


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