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Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

January is Novel-Writing Month!

January 1, 2011

Tags: order, adventure story, children’s book, cookbook, family history, legacy, life story, film script, health book, holidays, January is Novel-Writing Month!, journal, learning a musical instrument, medical novel, memories, mystery, novel, painting, publishing, purpose, satisfaction, theater play, thriller, travel report, wonder, writing

No clue who invented it – but January is novel-writing month.

Don’t feel restricted to a novel. You can write a thriller, a mystery, a children’s book, an adventure story, a film script or a theater play, a book about health or letting kites fly, about travels and favorite dishes – there is no limit.

The easiest is starting by writing down your own story. If you write it in the first person, it will become part of the family story. If you the find it turning out embarrassing – change it to the third person, and make it a novel.

This January just write a first draft. The first month of the year is usually a quiet month. The evenings are long and dark. Holidays and vacations are over. This is the time to write something down that you always wanted to write – instead of sitting in front of TV or computer, passively, turn on the “active” mode and write! At the very minimum, start writing a journal. Jot down your thoughts, observations, feelings. Show how YOU see the world.

You think you can’t do it? At one point, I had no desire to ever write – it just wasn’t on my agenda. I was a happy doctor and terribly busy to juggle medicine and family. One day I got an idea for a health book and started writing. I published two non-fiction books. Even before I published those, the idea for a medical novel came to me – I will never forget the date because it was two days before Christmas - December 22nd, 1999. The holiday pressure was just at its meanest when the idea struck. And what did I do? Wait prudently until the holidays were over? No! Of course, I had never heard that January is novel-writing month, and the urge to write down my ideas was too great – I sat down then and there at the computer, and began writing the novel. That first day, amidst pressing holiday needs, I wrote nearly three hours.

Little did I know that it would take me eleven years and 82 versions before I had brought it into publishable form.

You don’t have to aspire to publishing. But if you do, be aware that it never will be done with a single draft that – miraculously! – a publisher will want to buy and which then will make you millions of dollars. It will be many, man, many revisions before you will be there. And truth is: There’s no money in writing, in all likelihood. But there is satisfaction, wonder and purpose in writing.

If you don’t aspire to publishing, you still should write down your story. A friend of ours did it. He had been a career army man and a (responsible!!) father at sixteen, and he told his fascinating life story, interspersed with newspaper clips from the times – a wonderful legacy he one day will leave to his children and children’s children.

The only thing you have to do is: begin. January is the right (write!) month to begin.

Okay, okay, I hear you – you can’t write, you don’t want to write, und you will never learn to write. Suggestion: Paint a picture! Or learn to play an instrument!
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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