How do you write a novel?

Every couple of months I stumble upon like a 6000–10,000-word beginning of a novel that I totally forgot about because I had to put it aside to write something for $$.

In the seven years since my first novel, Love Will Tear Us Apart, was published, I have started something 20 novels. I have been serious about these books. Some of them are bad but many of them are good. They range from 6,000–20,000 words each.

I hope to finish some of them someday.

I say this not to brag because not finishing stuff is not something to brag about. But it is worth reminding myself, and everyone, that writing is all about false starts and stops. It’s also worth reminding myself that I started writing like 20 books before I published my first book — that was the process that got me my first book deal, and it’s the process that will get me the next one.

So when people ask me “How did you write a novel?” the answer is:

“I started writing 20 other novels.”