Are you writing a book? In a recent writers’ group meeting, we looked at common startup hassles that authors experience with a book-length project.
“I start out great. Then I feel as if I have no idea what I’m doing, and I give up,” one author said. “I’ve got three novels I’ve started.”
Several other authors agreed. An idea can seem so perfect until we start to write. Then we see the flaws and challenges. We may decide that this idea isn’t perfect at all.
It’s vital that we push through the hassles and keep going.
When you’re writing a book expect hassles when you start
In 5 Things No One Tells You About Writing A Novel, we said:
The story you write won’t match the story in your head
No matter how much preparation and outlining you do, the story you write will be different from the story that you initially imagined.
We’re not prepared for this. Often we have a wonderful conception of the book in our head, and when we start writing, we’re disappointed.
Expect this. Tell yourself that the story you’re writing can be better than the story you imagined.
Let’s look at some common challenges and how to deal with them.
1. Major challenge: you may hit “the wall”
If you’re writing fiction, expect to hit “the wall”:
The wall is the point at which you think your novel is a complete disaster. Not only do you hate it, but you also stop caring. More than anything, you want to nuke the project into oblivion.
Although I know the wall exists, and I’ve experienced it before, it’s always a nasty surprise when I hit it.
The solution? Keep writing, no matter what.
Writing nonfiction? You may also hit the wall. Again, keep writing.
2. Go back to the beginning to renew your inspiration
A veteran author suggested that if you’re ready to give up, go back to the beginning: “Sometimes it seems as if you’ve wandered off track. It’s worth looking at your initial conception for the project.”
This is where a book journal is useful. When you get stuck, you can review your goals, plans, and inspirations.
Please consider a maintaining a book journal; it’s very useful from the beginning to the end of your book project.
3. Avoid procrastination: research later
Unfortunately, our “research” is often just procrastination.
“Writing a book is hard,” one of our group said. “Research is much more fun. I can spend an hour browsing the web, and tell myself that I’ve had a good day writing… It took me years before I realized that a lot of what I call research is excuses.”
Many experienced authors suggest that you do your initial research, then put off all research until you’ve completed an initial draft.
Above all, keep writing
Writing a book takes time, even for writers who write quickly. This means that life gets in the way. You need to work late, or change jobs, or someone in the family becomes ill.
The solution? A book journal. Keep a fresh journal for each book.If you’re a stationery nerd, as I am, you have a stash of blank notebooks, so put them to work.
No stash? You can find inexpensive composition books anywhere. Alternatively, if you want to keep your book journals on your computer, Obsidian is perfect.
Good luck. 🍀
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