Help – I’m writing a novel ! (guest blog by Alex Ruczaj..)

Groundhog day doesn’t even cover it. Writing a novel is a struggle that sometimes seems to be never-ending. Much of the advice about writing a novel is about turning up to your desk and sticking your bum to the seat for a certain amount of time a day. I regularly resolve to do this, but more often than not life gets in the way and I find myself a week or two later not having done the work, occasionally it’s a month or two. I have lost count of the New Year’s Resolutions I've made to finish my novel! 

What I crave, what I need, is to build momentum through routine. I also find my motivation flags and I need some inspiration, advice and guidance to help me keep going and not get knocked back when I meet an obstacle – of which there are many in the novel writing process.  Writing a novel is a lonely process and I often miss my days doing an MA, where I had the support of tutors and other writers. The writing world has cottoned on to this need and there are a growing number of courses designed to support the struggling writer through their novel writing journey. This is all good news, but many of theses courses on offer are very expensive– we’re talking thousands of pounds – and require a long-term commitment that is not always viable when your juggling work, family and writing ambitions. 

Enter the new course from the Cambridge writing retreat….. Think ‘build your own adventure,’ but in a novel writing course. It feels like my prayers may have been answered! This course has been designed to be completely flexible --only do the modules that you want to do or are relevant to you— and also includes a mix of motivational tutor-led sessions and specific writing retreat days. Tutors are very successful authors and experienced tutors. The price has been set at an affordable £45-99 per session, depending on whether a tutor is present or not. The sessions are monthly – giving you time to progress your novel each month when you leave full of inspiration and good intentions!

I am excited to begin this Saturday with the very savvy Alison Bruce talking about the Five Act Structure. Let me tell you, a novel that has been worked on for around four years is rather unwieldy and in dire need of structure. It feels like a treat to be heading to Elsworth to see the beautiful garden and be fed home-made soup, listen to Alison’s wisdom – and get the time and space to work on my novel.  I feel hopeful as we head into Spring that this December – my resolution might just be tidy up the final draft or send it to agents.

Jessica Evans1 Comment