Living Life, Writing a Book

Never Ending Trail, courtesy of Morgan Phillips

Never Ending Trail, courtesy of Morgan Phillips

When I set out to write a novel, sometimes my mind becomes clouded. I become worried with the 'right' way to do it. Do I outline it first? Do I let the idea stew in my head for a few days? Do I edit as I go along, or finish the whole thing and make the editing a separate project? When is the best time to write it, midday or midnight? Do I drink drip coffee or use the french press? What temperature should it be in the room, and at which angle do I part my hair?

There are books on this. YouTube videos, blogs, and so, so many books on the so-called 'correct' way to write. Almost every writer has a personal opinion on what is the best way to write a novel, what is most effective. The truth is that the best plan will be one that you craft for yourself.


Ingenuity is what happens when personal inquiry is answered by self-discovery. 

I struggle with this. I often find myself reading books written by authors about writing books. (How stupid can you get?) In reality, I would be much better off just writing.

Although the advice, the techniques mentioned can be extremely helpful, there is no end-all-be-all of literary techniques. Even Stephen King's On Writing isn't the Bible of novel-writing. However, there is one that is particularly effective.

And it's yours.

Now, kids. This doesn't just apply to books, the arts, or the stuff that hipsters talk about while sipping chai tea. This is your life, and although you might get a few tips from the occasional self-help book you pick up at a bookstore. It may get you exercising more, being more mindful, I can tell you that no one's way of living life will ever, truly, fulfill your own instinct to do so.

I take solace in the thought that, centuries ago, the first artists set out to create, with no former masters, no how-to books, no concern with the 'right' or 'wrong' way. They simply created. And why shouldn't we do the same?

I believe that deep within us, hiding behind thick layers of insecurities, fears, and the occasional delusion, is the irreplaceable wisdom allowing us to live our lives wholesomely, with the power to pursue it not only to achieve meager goals of success, but to experience a deep satisfaction with the very act of existing, itself.

The struggle, and the trick to it, is to make your own method in the process. It is vital to stay consistent to yourself. 

You may pluck and pick through the methods of others. And they may help you. But it is important, no, crucial! It is crucial to use what you have learned to craft and shape your own, unique way of life.

To discern, page by page, chapter by chapter, what is your technique.

If your life was a book. How would you write it?