Consider myself an “amateur writer,” “up-and-coming novelist,” or a “gonnabe,” because it’s important to keep the mindset of “I’m working as hard as I can to make this my only profession.”

Part of taking that title as seriously as possible is pursuing professional advancements in the field. Reading books on writing, warming up with different writing exercises, and, now, taking online writing courses. Recently, I enrolled for a R.L. Stine’s MasterClass. You know, those ads on Facebook where Steve Martin teaches Comedy or Aaron Sorkin teaches screenwriting (where I assume he teaches you how to write 10,000 words for a 2 minute scene only to then cut it down to 7,000 words.)

As part of the class project for the course, students are expected to begin working on then write a YA horror novel. Each step of Stine’s process is being explained and detailed for us to learn from. Stine’s a straight to the point, get-to-work kind of guy. I like his mindset of “Think-Of-Idea-Sit-Down-Write-About-Idea-Then-Write-Book-Then-Do-Again” approach. I’ll probably talk about it more when I complete the entire course.

We just finished the preliminary outline for the novel. It’s strange, as I never would have considered writing “horror” anything, so this feels like a great way to stretch some creative muscles. This project is officially dubbed “Project: PAN.”

But, wait, I’m already writing Project: HARP, my middle-grade fantasy novel, so now I’m plotting the next novel? It’s been established this is the crux of what writers need to do. Write the next thing. Write the next thing. Fix it up. Send it out. Write the next thing.

So I’ve taken this to heart as much as time will allow. My prediction of work load over the next few weeks can be boiled down to this timeline:

Project: HARP:

Write 1st Draft –> Break –> Type Up 2nd Draft –> Fix Up 3rd Draft

Project: PAN:

Novel Outline–> Plot Story Beats –> Break –> Begin Writing 1st Draft

In a sense, this is how I imagine the work pace to go over the coming months. Alternate between light plotting of Project: PAN and the heavy writing of Project: HARP.

Don’t spend too much time on one thing, then work on the next thing. Switch it up and keep yourself engaged. I’ve been working this way over the last two weeks and it’s been invigorating. Write the next thing. Write the next thing. Write the next thing…

This is a little all over the place and far less focused than I wanted it to be, but it’s an bit of trying to make sense of what working towards becoming a published novelist could take. Each project could be the thing to finally get through, to partner me  with an agent, and secure a book deal, but I won’t know until I write it.