Writing a novel is like baking a cake… for four thousand people in less than an hour, with one hand and zero utensils.
It’s A Process
There’s nothing quite like the journey of writing a novel.
It’s a personal adventure; a seeking of the soul. And it should be regarded with love and respect. The process is not easy, and that’s why it makes us sad to see so many writers putting themselves down. That’s what this article will touch on.
It’s time to put a stop to the self-hatred. It’s already tough enough to make it as a writer. If you doubt yourself within that umbrella of hardship, it’ll be damn near impossible. We want to help you think of things in a more positive light – with both inspirational words and practical advice.
We want to set the record straight.
If you’ve completed a full-scale novel that makes sense, twists, and is at least partway entertaining, you’re a very rare and beautiful human, and you should treat yourself as nothing less.
Before we get into the main topic, let’s quickly touch on what you must understand first: yourself. This is perhaps the most important thing to understand – especially if you want to make it in the world of words and wisdom.
The community is full of other writers, and that means it’s full of other creatives sharing their processes, their results, and their preferences. What you must realise about this is that all those things have nothing to do with you. The most successful writers are those who carve their own paths through the wild word-filled shrubbery.
You must consult yourself.
This article will contain a strategy for those who struggle with self-doubt, a strategy that will hopefully provide them with an outlet; a way to avoid the terrible black hole. If you don’t struggle with self-doubt, this strategy might not be relevant. But, it could be relevant if you struggle to stick with one idea or to finish a novel, so if that’s you, stick around – we’ve got a logical theory coming your way.
Stop Editing As You Go
Many writers get stuck in this trap. It’s perhaps the easiest pitfall to stumble into as a writer, and that’s simply because it’s in the nature of the beast. When a writer sees words (especially their own) they want to critique them, make them better, and have a fantastic time while doing so.
Now, there’s a slight problem with this if you’re someone who self-doubts or can’t finish a novel. Are you catching on yet? That’s right – the slight problem is that obvious. If you struggle with those things, it’s likely not a great idea to get hung up on the tense consistency of chapter four.
Introducing the solution: no looking back. And yes, we mean it.
We want you to give this a try. Plan out a novel, figure out your plot in detail, and then go to town day after day. Don’t stop to reread the previous page, the previous sentence, or even the previous word. Just write and write until you’ve written the very last word of the very last chapter. Once you reach that point, you can look back all you like. You’ve earned it by then.
This is one way to negate the difficulties of editing while you write and, you know, not doing any actual writing because of it. It’s no good editing chapter four twenty times – it won’t be relevant to anyone else until the final chapter is written.
This is, of course, a rather extreme strategy, so again, find what works for you. Maybe reread each sentence, catch any typos or misplaced words, and then move on. Maybe even give the page a quick once over. But remember, the purpose of this drill is to avoid over-editing while you write, so be sure that you can leave it at the bare minimum.
Give this a try and see how it works for your process and your style – that’s how it will be best implemented.
And most of all, don’t forget to have a darn good time with your writing. If you let the stress and the self-doubt overwhelm you, it’ll sap the fun right out of the creative process. And what’s the point in writing if you can’t have fun? That’s why you got into this game in the first place, right?
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