Approximately a year and a half ago, I started on a journey to write a novel. This was something I have always wanted to do and had made serious attempts to do previously. But this time, I was taking a class that was about... you guessed it, writing novels! When your grade is on the line, there is a little bit more pressure to get it done but regardless, writing a novel is hard.
In fact, after 18 months of writing, I'm still not even done with my first draft! It's a frustrating but hopefully rewarding process when I finally have a finished product. Which, at this rate, will probably not be for another 3-4 years.
1. Just get the words on the page
There are times when you don't want to write, you need to write but nothing is happening in your mind. I have learned that even when I don't feel like writing, the best thing I can do is write. The end result will probably be a bunch of crappy word vomit but that can be fixed later. Forward motion is what is important.
2. This is just a sh*tty first draft
If you have taken any writing course, you have probably heard about or even read an article titled "Shitty First Drafts." It is simultaneously motivating and discouraging. On the bright side, it reassures you that no one can write the next Great American Novel in one go. But it also makes you realize that you are just at the beginning of a very long process. But that also means that it doesn't matter if it sucks! The aforementioned word vomit is completely acceptable at this stage of the process!
3. Don't look back
After I have a workshop and get feedback on what I have written so far, I am always tempted to go back and fix whatever mistakes I made right away. And yet, several times, I end up completely changing my mind about that scene entirely and cut it, so the time I spent revising wasn't worth it. I haven't even looked at the first 30 pages on my manuscript in over a year and probably won't until I finished the thing.
4. Wow, this really sucks
It can be so intimidating letting someone else read your work. What if they think they think the main character is an extension of myself? What if they think I am a terrible writer? What if, what if, what if? But in reality, letting other people read my work is the only way it is going to improve. And isn't that the end game anyway? To have as many people read it as possible?
Writing a novel is a daunting and intimidating feat to take on. But every week, I watch my word count go up by thousands and am motivated to write more. I am making something, I am telling a story. Back in the olden days, being a storyteller was prestigious. It is thrilling to see a world that I imagined come to life, to see characters that have lived in my head finally escape onto the page.
So if you have a story in your head, don't be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work ahead of you. Because the world deserves to hear your story.
Current Word Count: 38,090