The aim of this blog is to help you get started on your novel and see it through to the end.

To this end we will be posting articles on concrete actions you can take to start noveling with the know-how and motivation to write whatever that book is that is inside of you. Everyone has a story to tell, and if writing is a passion for you, then our philosophy is that you should never give up on it.

We hope you will benefit from our periodic words of advice and encouragement, and messages from guests who are working on becoming better novelists, just like you.

I love creative writing, and I hope writing for this site will help me think about and improve my novel-writing practice. As a person who studies literature as a student, I would like to increase my own literary output instead of always analyzing what other people have written. My ebook Start Noveling Like You Know What You’re Doing summarizes my knowledge of good story-telling and sets out the basic elements needed to complete a modern novel, such as structure, plot and character development.

We hope you enjoy this blog and that our ebooks help you find what you need. Stay tuned for future books, products and special discounts.

Get to know us

The Start Noveling team is also comprised of my brother Blake Watson, who is an accomplished novelist, or at least he has finished three first drafts as a long-time NaNoWriMo participant! He contributes much to our research for writing tips, and he gives our ebooks beautiful designs. Expect to hear from him from time to time.

We would love to hear from you. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page. You can also give us feedback in the comments or email me at matt@startnoveling.com.

Encouragement for the road ahead

There are many forces in life that seem to pull us workaday folks away from creative endeavors, especially the daunting task of creative writing. And there’s something that just seems ominous about the word novel. It sounds big and grandiose and beyond the reach of anyone save those who have the time to commit eight or more hours a day to their novel.

But that is actually a misconception, because the truth of the matter is that many great novelists throughout history were not professional writers whose day job was to spend all day on the next great novel.

  • Lew Wallace, author, lawyer and Union general
    Lew Wallace, author, lawyer and Union general

    Lew Wallace, who wrote Ben Hur, was first primarily known as a Civil War veteran who spent his years in retirement riding horses. He only wrote a few hundred words a day, and then moved on to other activities on his private ranch that were arguably more enjoyable.

  • Stephen King wrote his first novel during a spare hour here and there while being a full-time teacher by day.
  • John Grisham wrote his first legal thriller on the side while working as a lawyer.
  • Tom Clancy, who everyone tends to assume was a military veteran or war history scholar, was actually just an insurance salesman who had a side hobby of writing military stories.

And before you say, “Well, these were just the lucky ones who had success,” consider a few facts. First of all, there are more published novelists out there than you can count. Sure, they are not all household names or New York Times Best Sellers, but they have enough readership to get a publishing house to distribute and market their works. Secondly, it is easier than ever these days to self-publish, and the verdict is in: Making it in the self-publishing industry is at least as likely as meeting success in traditional publishing, and it only expands your freedom, opportunities and choices. Furthermore, you don’t need to be the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling to be successful in the market. You can make five or even six figures with just a small slice of the market and without being “famous.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, before you look at stats and conclude that publishing successfully is about as likely as winning the lottery, consider the fact that many people give up on getting published, if they didn’t give up on finishing their manuscript in the first place. Many people don’t succeed because they don’t see their projects through to the end. Think of how many people just put their manuscript up in the attic, never to return to it.

So stats are relative. You don’t have to feel stuck in the mindset of giving up. The writers above did not become successful because they were better writers than other people or because they knew some trick to getting into the market. They became successful by working at their projects on a more-or-less daily basis, without stopping.

Just start, and don’t stop.

That is my advice to you. Whatever happens in the end will happen, but there is always something rewarding in seeing something through to the end. Apply this kind of positive thinking to your novel, and there is no way you’ll miss out on success in some way or another.

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