Friday, June 21, 2013

Writing Naked

by C.J. West
Ever dream you’re standing in front of your locker back in high school then look down and discover you forgot your pants?

How about the one where the college semester is almost over and you haven’t been to class for two months? When I have this dream, I can’t remember which classes I am registered for or where they convene. It’s very distressing to be lost and afraid.

When I was a new writer I had these dreams all the time. There is something scary about opening yourself and your work up to criticism. In today’s world of anonymous feedback on Facebook, Amazon, and via email, it is so easy for someone to tell us how awful our work is. That makes it risky to send our work out into the world, or even to get it down on the page.

I remember being in the “first novel” group on Yahoo for years. So many of us looked at the blank screen and sat there. It might have been fear that kept our word count so low or it might have been uncertainty about how to put a novel together. Back then I would have killed to have an established author show me his writing process.

That’s what I’m going to do this year. Starting in August, I’m going to write and release my novel Two Bags Full as it is written. Not a polished draft, but my first draft the way I normally write a first draft. Each day, I’ll chat with readers about the story and characters. We’ll talk about what is happening at a time when the story is still changing. I think this is a unique experience to talk with the author about a book while it is still being written.

Readers will get to see the evolution of the book from draft to draft. To hear my plans for each draft from beginning to end and to see the tools I use to keep track of my work. As we go along we’ll remove the mystique so many people have about writing a novel and share the story in a way readers of the finished book never experience.

The discussion will be held in a private group funded by this Kickstarter project. If you would like to take part in the experience you need to register right away. No one will be admitted once the project begins.

The great thing about Kickstarter is that this project won’t begin unless we reach the funding goal, which means there will be about 1,000 people taking part in the project. With that many people coming along, there will be a good group to talk to anytime you want to discuss what is happening

I hope you’ll join me.

When the project is done and you go back to writing, you might feel like you’re naked, but at least you’ll know you’re not alone.

C.J. West is the author of eight suspense novels, one of which was optioned for film. A former computer systems consultant and blog talk radio host, C.J. has been writing novels since 1999. Find him at or on Facebook.


  1. Thanks for posting with us. This is such a unique (and brave) project! You'll have to update us at the halfway point and then again at the end to tell us how it went.

    I've never even written with a co-author, and the most I let anyone see during the process is the first 50 pages. So I can't imagine such an open process. But I'm sure new writers will benefit!

  2. Thanks L.J.

    Always great to be here and I will let you know how it goes.

    It is a little scary, but I think it will be fun.

  3. C.J., it sounds like a fun project. Best of luck to you!

  4. Any process that produces writing and feedback and revision is of interest.

    Good luck!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.