You’re writing a novel. Except you’re not… days pass, and you can’t even look at the words you’ve written. Why is writing a novel so hard?
While there are dozens of ways to finish a novel, there’s really only one way: start writing. Stop when you’re done. You might also consider doing it your way. You can write in any way you choose, as long as you finish.
Here’s what’s holding you back: fear, in some form. Your fear may reveal itself as an excuse (I’m too busy), or perhaps you’re terrified.
You’re wondering what you can do to gain a little courage.
Writing a novel your way: courage develops from writing
No courage? Write anyway.
Every day is a new day.
Every day is a new day. You’ve learned something new from the writing you did yesterday. When the chapters pile up, you learn new skills, and your writing improves.
Sometimes it doesn’t improve – you think your writing is horrible. On some days you will hate your novel. That’s okay too.
Try these tips to develop your courage.
1. Courage comes via action, never via thought: write anyway
You can’t think yourself into feeling courageous. You can however, act courageously — even if you’re terrified. Pretend. It’s OK to pretend to have courage. When you act “as if”, it will build real courage.
Change your story — your internal narrative — the story that you tell yourself about writing. If you constantly tell yourself: this is hard, it will be.
Why not tell yourself: I’m having fun. My novel is fun… I enjoy writing…
Write “FUN!!” onto a sticky note and paste it onto your computer.
2. Write what you love, even if you’re sure it won’t sell
What are you writing? It’s impossible to feel courageous and confident if you hate what you’re writing.
Why not write what you love? It may not sell — or it may become a bestselling novel. Enjoy your writing. Make it fun for yourself.
Experienced authors know how to make writing fun. If you’re a beginning author, start by writing what you want to write. There’s a reason your creativity is pushing you where you need to go. Follow your creative instincts.
3. Remain silent about writing a novel: defending yourself and your actions takes energy
Stop telling people you’re writing a novel. Save that energy for the writing.
New authors want to tell everyone: their family, their work colleagues, the hairdresser… All those “why, how, what, when” questions force you to justify yourself. You don’t need validation.
If you want to write — write. The desire is all you need.
Writing a novel builds your courage, word by word and day by day
Start writing. Today. Amazingly enough, your courage will grow.
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