If writers are good at one thing, we are really good at procrastinating when we should be writing. It happens all of the time. I am especially guilty of this. I wrote a story during my junior year of high school and I still have not finished the second draft. I graduated from college in December.
There are lots of reasons we don’t write. We don’t have the motivation. We don’t have the time. We aren’t in the zone. Or, my personal favorite, the story isn’t ready yet.
At least, that is what we say.
We really avoid it because we aren’t ready. There is something holding us back. We are afraid of failure, of rejection. We are afraid to try because we don’t know if anyone is listening.
I know I can’t be the only one who is tired of this. It is time for us to overcome the things that are holding us back and move past everything that is holding us back. It is time for us to start writing.
The thing is, your novel isn’t going to write itself. As amazing as that would be, it is simply not going to happen. You have to sit down, put your fingers on your keys, and get to work.
If your response is “my story isn’t ready yet”, I have something to say to that. I spend about a month prepping a plot outline for NaNoWriMo, got 64 pages through and I could not get the story moving. It was terrible. During that time, though, I created two characters who ended up taking over the story. It turns out I was telling the wrong story about the wrong characters.
My point is, no matter how much preparation you put into your novel the story will change as you write it. It will breathe, grow, take you in directions you never expected. As you write your story will improve because you realize that certain things you have will not work. You find other things that will work better. You find and fill all of the plot holes as you go.
Your story can’t go anywhere if you don’t start writing it.
Another common struggle I see among writers is “why bother writing if no one is going to read it?” We convince ourselves that no one could possibly be interested in what we have to say. This could come from getting shut down when we try and talk about certain things or just a low self-esteem. We think we have nothing to offer.
Sometimes, you just have to write for yourself. Don’t worry about what your friends will think. Don’t worry about your family’s opinion. Don’t worry about what anyone else would say or think. You have a story inside of you, and even if you never show it to anyone else, you should still write it. Get it down on paper. You owe it to yourself to prove that you are capable of writing that story. That you are capable of finishing something.
If you are worried about what other people might think because of the content of the story, you can always publish under a pseudonym. This can also be helpful if you normally write in another genre, to prevent confusion.
Something else to keep in mind if you are worried no one will like your story. Consider this. Are you part of a fan community? Do you share interests and passions with other people? Do you yourself enjoy the story you have created?
If you answered yes to any of these, then I can guarantee that someone somewhere will like your book. I’ll go more into this in a later post, but trust me when I say that if you tell a good story people will like it. They will read it. They will identify with the characters. They will enjoy the plot. They will see that you did it and realize that they can do it too.
But none of this will happen if you never finish the dang book.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some writing to do.