Build-a-Bear and Novel Writing

I wrote this post a couple of years ago, but it’s still relevant today, so I thought I’d share…

Last week, my husband and I took our twins to a Build-a-Bear Workshop, where the girls had a blast creating their own little furry friends. This morning, while I watched them play with their new toys, I revisited the event in my mind and realized the experience was a lot like novel writing. Take a look.

-Select the animal body = decide upon a story idea/theme
-Choose a sound unique to your animal = pick character traits to create distinctive personalities
-Stuff the animal with fluff = plot/outline or imagine the main idea of the story
-Add a heart and love = write the first draft with heart, soul, and love
-Sew the animal together = edit/rewrite/edit some more
-Give the animal a fluff bath and grooming = polish and add finishing touches
-Pick out an outfit and dress the animal = pick agents/editors to query and submit novel or decide where and how you’ll self-publish
-Create a birth certificate for the animal = sign the book contract or sign contracts with freelance editors and graphic designers
-Place the animal in its little boxy house and take it home = the publisher releases the book to the public and readers buy it or you release your book and readers buy it

Our Build-a-Bear experience was enjoyable and didn’t take long. Too bad novel writing wasn’t as quick. However, one thing to take away from this is to never lose sight of your goal—you’ll get there—but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the adventure along the way. As soon as you make the experience all about publishing, your writing suffers because your heart isn’t in it. Don’t focus on how long it’s taking to get your story ready to send out or to self-publish. Time isn’t your goal or shouldn’t be the main goal. Having your novel published is your goal. Before you can worry about that, make sure to write the best damn book you can. What’s the point in stressing out about how long it’s taking you to write and edit your book? If you don’t have a deadline, there’s no need to worry about that. All this does is put extra pressure on you and for what? So you can rush and get your story out? If your book isn’t ready because you didn’t take the time to polish it, you’ll regret it. Either you won’t find an agent or if you self-publish, you’ll receive bad reviews.

PLEASE, do yourself a favor and allow all the time you need to make this book stand out from others that are competing against you, trying to win over the same agents or readers. Usually, each book gets easier, but some might need to stay in a drawer forever. Why not try to be successful with every novel you plan to release?

Build-a-Book lately? Where are you in your journey? What’s been the hardest part so far? What’s your favorite piece of the novel writing process?

Lynnette Labelle

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2 Responses to Build-a-Bear and Novel Writing

  1. Graeme Ing says:

    Great post. Towards the end it is very easy to fall into the trap of rushing. This s natural: you want to see your project done, to get the reward of perhaps several years of effort. Everywhere around you it seems that authors are publishing, getting readers and reviews and getting excited. I used to feel like I was being left out.

    Selfpub makes it worse I think, and very tempting to not do that last edit or skip the professional editor, because you don’t need to impress an agent. It’s a hard habit to break.

    Enjoy the journey: very wise words. I actually love editing, it’s my favorite thing after the initial creation of a powerful scene. In the edit I get to polish and turn the scene into more than I envisaged the first time. I get a real kick out of that. Letting go is the hardest thing: I could tinker with my book forever.

  2. Lynnette Labelle says:

    Graeme: Your hard work is obvious. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Lynnette Labelle

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