1. Write every day. I know it’s cliché, but a writer must have a special kind of narcissism. In the words of John Steinbeck, “A Writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing. And he must hold onto this illusion, even though he knows it’s not true.” This type of megalomania and delusion, considers the world and the people in it as the most important occupation of the mind.

2. Find a writer that you admire. Are they too far above you, or do they reach out to you? I admire Hemingway and Steinbeck, but they are too far above me, too good for me. Hemingway was larger than life, fighting in wars, killing big game, and traveling across the globe. Did he ever have a real job? A 9 to 5? I can’t relate to him. He’s too macho, even though his writing is beautiful. Steinbeck is a talented writer, that puts my prose to shame. He doesn’t reach out to me. He doesn’t comfort me, but I admire him, just the same.

3. Save People. Now, Bukowski…Bukowski, I can relate to. He worked real jobs. He didn’t pedestalize anything. He wrote about the grim realities that most of us face, like paying the rent. What happens when our family abandons us and our neighbors don’t understand us? Now, I can relate to that, and I have plenty of experience dealing with my neighbors. Oh no, did I give something away!? For me, Bukowski is necessary, like the Bible is for a Christian who has any belief in God. Bukowski saved me. Your writing should save somebody else. The more people you save, the more successful you will become.

½. Love it! This is self-explanatory. You must learn to love writing. If you are bored when writing, your readers will get bored. If you hate your subject… well, you guessed it! Writing is telepathy. You must transmit your thoughts onto the page, and then into your readers’ brain.

3 thoughts on “3 ½ Steps to Write the Great American Novel

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