Something really shocking happened today, I am a part of several writing groups on Facebook and one of the admins to a group asked the members, “What their dream as an author is?”
Now I was expecting very deep and eloquent answers from all the brilliant aspiring authors in the group, but surprisingly most of the replies were a very disappointing,“I’m just aiming to finish a novel”.
This idea really inspired me to write this particular post because while I am an aspiring author who still hasn’t even published her first novel, I can very confidently tell you I am well on my way to at least finishing it.
If you are also struggling to finish your novel, follow these simple rules. They are simple and have been verified to work for many a published author the likes of Stephen King, Haruki Murakami.
1. WRITING ROUTINES
Most writers have their own routine. But, what is common amongst them is a daily habit of writing. I write daily, as do all established writers. Stephen King for example, when he’s working on a novel works on all holidays including Christmas and even his own Birthday. That is the dedication and that’s how you get work done.
Most writers also advocate writing in the morning. I myself believe I write my best in the morning, with a fresh mind. Ryan Holiday also writes in the morning, he believes writing is his profession and treats it like one.
“I am sharpest and least imposed on in the morning
so that’s when I write. I have a ritual: I get up, I shower, I get dressed as
though I am going to a job and then I show up to work.” ~Ryan Holiday
2. HAVE A DAILY GOAL
Set a daily writing goal for yourself, this can be the number of pages you write or just the number of words. Don’t stop until you’ve finished writing your set number. Stephen King and John Grisham both aim for 2000 words daily.
Stephen King recommends 1000 words daily for a new writer, but if you have a full-time job and just can’t find time to do that, write 500 words, heck write 200 words if you only have a few minutes. But stick to it! A novel is generally between 50,000-100,000 words, if you write a 1000 words a day regularly you’ll be done with the novel in a little over 3 months.
3. ACCEPT YOUR BAD WRITING
Yes…You read that right…accept your bad writing. You know you put off writing when you can’t write well.
There are days when I sit at my laptop staring at a blank screen and I’m unable to put one coherent sentence in my text editor. These are days I lack motivation and inspiration, but really great writers or at least the established ones always recommend a daily writing habit, so how do you exactly write every day when you’re not motivated or have nothing good to write about.
I know you’re thinking, why would anyone buy my book or read my blog if I don’t write well?Well, you’re not going to sell a book or publish a post, you don’t ever write either.
Picture this, you are at your desk, you are typing away at your computer and the words are just flowing. You are feeling your characters, the situation is absolutely clear in your head and the words are just automatically flowing out of your head into that page.
Now ask yourself how many days in the last month have been like that for you?
If I had to answer that question I’d say very few. Maybe once a week. Now Imagine if I only wrote on days I was feeling this free flow of inspiration. It would take me a few years to complete an entire novel.
Instead, if I just accepted that some days are going to be bad and wrote anyways, I would end up with my novel in a few months and then I can edit it to make it better.
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without
putting a word on paper.” ~E.B. White
You know when you watch a movie about a writer, and they’re just typing away at that dusty old typewriter, and they just pick the pages out, and put them in an envelope addressed to the editor? Yeah, that was they’re last rewrite, not their first draft!
Great writers, rewrite and edit their work multiple times before they think its any good. They have accepted their bad writing too.
Write and edit every day to make improvements. This daily practice will in time reduce the number of rewrites you need to do and the editing process will become shorter as well.
There is a great quote by JK Rowling the author of the Harry Potter Series.
“You have to resign yourself to the fact that you waste a lot of trees before you write anything you really like, and that’s just the way it is. It’s like learning an instrument, you’ve got to be prepared for hitting wrong notes occasionally, or quite a lot, cause I wrote an awful lot before I wrote anything I was really happy with.”
In the end, all I want to say is keep writing, keep working at it, no matter what. If this is your dream, keep trying to make it your reality. All good things come to those who wait and work diligently.
I hope this post helped you find your way to finishing that ever elusive first novel. Do leave me a comment if you have any other suggestions.
I love reading all your comments. Thank you for reading this post, if you’re interested in learning more about writing, I have a great post on How to write a best-selling novel like Stephen King?