Follow Your Dream and Write Your Own Novel
Most book lovers’ ultimate dream is to one day write his or her own novel. Often someone strikes up a conversation when they see me dragging my laptop to the cafeteria and ask me what I’m working on. When I tell them that I’m writing my next novel, they dreamily look up to the ceiling and sigh: “I wish I could write my own book!” When I asked them what’s holding them back, I get the typical 3 answers why they can’t write their own novel they’ve been dreaming about: I have no time, I’m not creative enough, and I’ll never finish it. Are these valid reasons not to follow your passion? Let’s explore:
Obstacle #1: I Have No Time
Really? I worked full-time, and I managed to squeeze in some time for my writing. I usually drag my laptop and binder with me to work. When I’m in my writing phase, I use one of my two 15 minute breaks to plan out my scene for the day and start writing during my lunch hour and afternoon break. It gets me started. After work, I either go to a bookstore, coffee-shop, or any place I can sit and write for a little while without distractions to finish my scene for the day. I can write at home after dinner, however, I find that I get easily distracted and tend to procrastinate.
Still not convinced that you can find some time in your day? Then try this: Take out a notepad and account for all your time for a couple of days. Are you surprised how much idle time you have? Are you spending your evenings watching TV or just piddling around? Granted, sometimes you just gotta decompress; however, you might want to allocate 30 minutes to 1 hour to go toward your writing each day. Think about this – each paragraph you’ve written, will be a paragraph closer to your dream of finishing your own book.
Obstacle #2: I’m Not Creative Enough
Says who? All you need is some imagination (which avid readers already have) and a little planning. The rest will follow. When I wrote my first novel, I thought of a story that I would want to read. THAT STORY. I jotted down the big stuff that I wanted to happen and then filled the gaps of how I would get my characters to arrive at those big events – those were the scenes. I printed my rough outline and at the beginning of writing each scene, I took a few minutes to watch the scene unfold as a movie in my head (usually several versions as I explored the what-ifs). I also made sure that I had conflict and something unexpected happen in each scene.
Once you finish your novel and let it “stew” for a few weeks, you’ll be amazed of how cool your book turned out. This happened to me after I wrote The Heidelberg Ghost and started editing after we did our move back to the States. As I was reading the first few scenes, I thought I was reading someone else’s novel. I’ll never forget that feeling.
Obstacle #3: I’ll Never Finish It
I’m an avid project starter and after a while my enthusiasm tends to fizzle out and I put my projects aside to finish later. Later may never come. I noticed that I’m incredibly productive when I’m working under deadlines – no time for procrastination. I wrote my first novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). In this contest the goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. You can post your word count each day at their website and friend other contestants to keep you accountable. It worked for me. Give yourself permission to write a crappy 1st draft – the point is to “finish your novel”. Of course you will fix and polish your book later in the editing phase. Just get the 1st draft written and the rest will follow.
As you can see, you can follow your dream and write your own novel. I bet you didn’t know that most bestselling authors still have regular day jobs. Set aside maybe an hour a day to write, make a loose outline to keep you on track, and find a way to keep yourself accountable. Make some writer friends (me) and start writing. You can do it! It’s your story – your dream.
Have you thought of writing a novel? Have you written one? What obstacles do/did you face? Leave a comment below or hop on over to Facebook to talk about your hopes and dreams as a writer.