I wrote the first draft of my first novel in just under 90 days. I’d been writing stand-up and screenplays for years, but very little prose. I had a strong sense of story, and a pretty clear first-person voice, but as a novelist, I didn’t know what I was doing — which, in retrospect, was a good thing.
There was no fear. I had no plans to show it to anyone.
Consequently, when I finished it, I was rather pleased, and a series of synchronistic events led to the book getting to a top New York agent, who auctioned it in a bidding war. The book became a bestseller and won a few awards — it’s also been optioned for film every year, which bought me a house.
Only later did an author friend of mine explain the odds of all of this happening. Apparently one in seventeen-thousand novel submissions leads to publication. If I’d been driven to get published, I doubt I would have written with the freedom that I did. The irony is that when I wrote the story for myself, everything changed.
Zen Buddhists call it “beginner’s mind.” Athletes call it “being in the zone.” Folks spend years cultivating this experience. I was just ignorant.
I can’t promise that you’ll get published, although a wildly disproportionate number of my alumni do.
However, I can promise you this. It will probably change your life.