I would have liked to read this post three years ago, when I started writing my novel. For some reason there is nothing out there that talks about the cons of writing… In my opinion it is not something that can discourage the future writer; rather it’s a small reality check that should motivate you even more and help you get off to a strong start on your project. I was very happy and innocent then, I thought that by the summer I would have finished my book… And when I saw myself starting everything over three times now, I began to wonder if that was normal, since everything had been painted pink…
Here are the considerations you should take before getting on the train. They are nothing more than advice, many of them addressed to me three years ago… Or to all the people who plan for the first time to jump headlong into a project as big as writing a novel. First of all, cheer up!
1. It will take much longer than you think
Keep in mind that you will not have it in a week; in two either. If you’re a newbie like I was (and still consider myself one!), give it months. Writing requires dedication and time. You’re going to have to make it a habit, if you don’t already have it. Come up with a plan; set deadlines, make schedules. The time you spend will never be too much if you use it well!
2. You will need a friend willing to read your draft.
Find someone who wants to read your writing. In these three years, what helped me the most to continue was someone who read each chapter and gave me advice on how to continue. This will help you stay motivated and continue writing; it will be a companion on your journey, and by having another point of view on the project, it may even reveal things to you that you had not thought of!
2. It will be difficult to start
The danger of giving up is present in the first weeks… It was very difficult for me not to give it up (you can’t even imagine). He did nothing but think about everything and believed that nothing was progressing. I wrote and wrote, and above all it exasperated me. Don’t let it! How many things do we abandon without knowing where they would have led us?
3. You will get blocked, A LOT
And when you think you’re already picking up the pace, here comes the blank sheet. You have no idea how to continue, and you doubt if what has been written so far is minimally good. My advice? Consult it with the pillow. Give yourself some time, take a vacation (short, eh?). Taking your mind off your project may help you come back stronger, with more ideas and even more motivation.
4. You will end up hating your story
Yes. It happens, and a lot. You’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to want to throw it all out the window, laptop included. Between artist and work there is always a love-hate relationship. Those of us who draw have it very present. When you finish you like it a lot. After minutes not so much, after hours it is already burning in flames. This is not a reason to quit. You hate it? Well, make an effort to love him. But above all, keep in mind that it never turns out as we imagine. Sometimes it’s much better!
5. Everything you had planned may not be of any use to you
Do you already have a scheme of the vine with your more than fifty summarized chapters, character sheets with even their favorite food and a world completely built to the centimeter? Let me tell you, you’ll likely end up changing it, if not all of it, then at least half of it. When I put everything I had planned on the table and started to write, I realized that not everything was going as I thought at first. Your work has to evolve, and your look at it too. As you build it, don’t be afraid to end up where you didn’t plan.
6. You shouldn’t be afraid to erase and start over
Do not fear the mistake. If everything went well for us, we would have no chance to learn anything or evolve. I deleted twelve chapters because I didn’t like where things were going. I had been writing them for half a year. If I hadn’t, none of the resulting stuff would have been better than what I have now. It’s hard to start over, but we end up being amazed at how we improve by accepting our mistakes.
7. Writing will become essential
Little by little you will begin to realize that you do not see a tomorrow without writing. It will become important to you (if it isn’t now!). You will no longer write words; you will write complete worlds, incredible stories and characters as alive as you and me. Even your biggest fear may turn out to be having too many novels lying around, unfinished. May this not become something negative!
8. You’re going to get it
In time, inevitably, you’re going to have it. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have your work in your hands (I hope one day I know). Fear not, the day will come when after you’ve reviewed your draft a hundred times, you can get up, close your laptop, and say, “I’ve written a novel.” And that you don’t care in the least about everything else. “I can’t publish it”, “nobody wants to read it”, “I’m beginning to doubt it again”,… I’ll tell you one thing: the path you take right now is not going to be taken away from you by any publisher. And if you’ve managed to write a novel, you’re going to get what you want with it.