Why haven’t you started writing your novel?
The mostly likely reason is: Fear.
You’re scared you will fail. You’re scared you aren’t good enough. You’re scared no one will want to read what you write. I get it. I feel these things, too. In fact, I’m willing to bet every writer has had these same fears. But they got through it. They are living their dream. So can you. You just need to jump — and today I’m going to help you do it.
You jump, I jump, Jack.
The Blank Page
There is nothing more intimidating for a writer than a blank page. That blinking cursor can almost feel like it’s mocking you, right? Daring you to write something that will never compare to the image you have in your mind. There is only one way to overcome this hurdle. Yup, you guessed it. You need to just write.
Even if it means writing ‘This is my new book. I’m excited to see where it leads me. Chapter One’. Just get those fingers moving. Think of it as a warm-up. Once you find your groove, start writing your story. Don’t worry about the quality of your writing. That is not what first drafts are about. Don’t edit as you go. Just write the story.
Terry Pratchett — ‘The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.’
Even if you have plottered your novel extensively, there is still an element of discovery involved in writing first drafts. As such, your only concern should be to get the story on the page. If you want a clearer idea of what your first draft should look like (or want some reassurance if you’re in the middle of your own) check out Things NOT To Include In Your First Draft.
Just 200 words
You may have heard of this tip before. It’s nothing revolutionary. But then again, the best things rarely are.
Tell yourself you will sit down and write 200 words. Just 200 words. That’s it. It won’t take long (15-20 mins tops), even if you are currently plagued with writer’s block. Once you have written those 200 words, you are free to stop. That part is important.
Hopefully, however, writing those 200 pressure-free words have helped you break through the ‘fear wall’ and now you have come out the other side feeling inspired and ready to churn out an extra chapter or two.
Give it a Title
It doesn’t have to be the ‘title’. A simple working title will do. Giving your novel a name will make it feel more real and give you something to be proud of. After all, you have an idea. You’ve developed and outlined the story. That’s something to be proud of in itself. Many aspiring writers don’t even get that far.
Now give yourself the pat on the back you deserve and get back to writing.