Today’s post is about “breaking down walls.” You know, those aspects of writing that are intimidating, frightening, and that tempt us to take a break from a work in progress (WIP), especially if it’s the first one! New writers, aspiring authors: this post’s especially for you!
- I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S ANY GOOD. That’s true, and you’ll never know if you don’t keep going. Even if you have to scrap all or a large part of what you write (the focus of yesterday’s post) YOUR TIME WRITING THAT MATERIAL IS NOT SQUANDERED. Don’t fear that it is, and don’t be afraid to delete and/or start over. You learn how to write by writing and by being an avid reader. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. My first novel will never see the light of day where the public is concerned, but I LOVE it nonetheless. It’s not publishable material but the process of writing it me taught me TONS. It was a wonderful experience, not a failure or a waste.
- IT’S SUCH AN UNMANAGEABLE TASK. SO HERCULEAN! Writing a first novel can seem impossible. Make it doable by setting smaller goals. Write for a certain length of time each day (30 or 60 minutes.) Write a certain number of words each day (1000-2000). Focus on meeting those doable benchmarks, and within a year you’ll have your first draft! How cool is that??? Another tip: though I don’t use them, outlines can help you feel more secure and in control of what’s happening with the novel. Just make sure you aren’t afraid to veer away from it if the characters guide you to do so!
- I CAN’T SEEM TO MAKE PROGRESS IN MY WORD COUNT! If you’re spending time with your WIP but not seeing the up in the word count you’d like to, you’re probably editing as you’re writing. That’s not a good idea. It makes you stall and it only frustrates you. Remember the time to edit is AFTER you write. Your first task is to get words on the page.
- IT’S JUST TOO PERSONAL. If you feel called to write for yourself, then write for yourself. No one has to read your work. If you decide to change your mind later on, you always can! Writing’s always personal–for me, it’s truly a therapeutic experience, if a masked therapy–but there are ways to mask how personal it is. You don’t have to write memoirs. And you can create characters who feel similarly to you without living your life situation. (If you’re dealing with a physical health issue, for instance, and that’s fodder for your creativity, why not have a protagonist struggle with a mental health condition? Or, why not have an external conflict test and tax a protagonist like your health taxes you? Rather than instill your heroes with the qualities you like about yourself, why not use one or two of those to humanize a villain?) One of my favorite things about the fantasy genre is the freedom it gives me to MASK just how much of ME is truly in my novels!
I hope you found this useful! What writing “walls” have plagued you before? Any of these? Other ones? What did you do to knock them down? Please feel free to comment!