Writing is hard! Don’t be swayed by that temptress that screams, “this is easy.”  

As I sit here at my desk writing this, I am writing my first novel. Although it is a daunting endeavor, I’m learning more about my craft. As a “first time” writer, I am learning that writing can be taxing. There are no short cuts or go-arounds that will make writing any easier.  

Here I am at 40 years old, working on my second degree, but my first MFA. I’ve been writing for nearly thirty years of my life on various subjects and genres, including poetry and short stories, with nothing to show for it.  

More about my writing. I’m currently working on a satirical fantasy piece, which I lovingly call The God and The Harlot. I won’t bore you all with the details just yet, because only one chapter has been set on the page. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot’s been accomplished, but writing doesn’t magically happen.  

The writing process has its learning curve, or so I’ve learned since I began the courses of the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU, “Go Penmen”).  

As I completed chapter one of my novel and begun the second, I found that I couldn’t write another word of the opening scene of this second chapter. Not because of writer’s block or a loss of interest, but because the scene was still playing out in my head. When writers suggest “write organically,” I wonder if this is what they mean? I can’t write a scene if I can’t see it in its fully realized form, despite having copious pages of notes of the scene written in a Moleskine notebook with its “Super Mario Bros.” themed cover.

Let me say that I am not an avid note-taker, nor am I very organized. I even hate outlining! However, learning to create an outline for a novel (which by the way is a sight easier than it is for writing dissertations), made all the difference for The God and The Harlot.  The outline, which was a simple 3-Act structure has helped me at least get the essential plot-points down, has made all the difference. Though I still have copious amounts of notes for each chapter in my handy-dandy “Super Mario Bros.” notebook, none of them in any semblance of order that could indicate which scene goes where, or which character gets introduced in which part of the book.

What I’m trying to say is this: there is no right or wrong way to write.

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