I once heard that nearly 90% of all books are never completed, much less published. I don’t know if it’s an accurate number or not. but I do know that I, personally, had at least 3 unfinished manuscripts in my desk drawer, when the house burnt down last year. So even though I have published one novel and have two more coming out this year, I am much further behind in the publishing game than I could have been had I not wasted a decade on un-utilized work.
But WHY? Why does it happen; that we are so frustrated that we put it in a drawer and forget about it? Or maybe you have told yourself for months or years that you should write a book about ________. Why haven’t you started? As with most human emotions (if we dig deep enough) at its root, the answer is fear. Wannabe authors are often stymied by fear, paralyzed by self-doubt and we give up, sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously — by focusing on other things. Hell, I’m doing that right now, by writing this blog when I should be finishing my WIP (Work-In-Progress).
We have every excuse in the world. Life is busy. I’m not sure where to start. I don’t know who would want to read what I have to say. My story isn’t that interesting. Blah, Blah Blah.
Here are a Six Things that I had to keep in mind in order to get past much of that fear and just write:
- I firmly believe everyone has a story worth telling
- If you are writing (or contemplating writing) so you can sell a hundred million books and get rich like Dan Brown, Tom Clancy or Tony Robinson… well, I hate to burst your bubble. It probably won’t happen. Write because you want to write; you need to write. I used to tell people that I write to get the voices out of my head and onto paper.
- You will never finish if you don’t begin.
- Sit and write… Getting your manuscript finished, means to tell your story from beginning to end. Don’t get bogged down in perfection or corrections; those things actually stop the flow of your writing. They can also cause us to be tremendously critical of our work. You can edit the heck out of it later, for now, just tell your story. There is nothing to edit if you haven’t written the story.
- Nobody but you will read it… until it is ready. Use self-doubt as a challenge, focus on writing and finishing the story. Judgment can come later. But self-doubt often keeps us from beginning. Procrastination was an art form when I first began.
- There is nothing to fear between pen and paper… or keys and screen.
The summary here is simple. Keep writing. Set yourself a daily goal of 500, 750, 1000 words. My goal is 1500 words, some days I write 5000, others I can’t seem to squeak out a coherent paragraph. If you are unsure you have the skills to write: write anyway. I promise you that if you write and finish your story, you will be a better writer at the end of it than you were at the beginning. So when you go back to edit that first draft, your skill set will be much improved and your first edits and additions will illustrate that fact. Just like anything else, writing takes practice.
Keep writing. Someone in the world needs to hear your story.
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