Now that is a new year, I’ve started to reflect on my writing progress from last year. I often have gone through the process of planning a novel, but never went through with more than one chapter of actual writing. I think lack of understanding of what it really takes to write a novel was what stalled my progress in the past, but I’ve done so much research on the process that I can go into this novel much more well informed than ever.
In my process, planning is a necessary evil but it’s for sure not my favorite. I’ve been just itching to finally get these characters and plots and ideas onto paper. But the funny thing is, once I had finally gotten through my final stages of the planning process, suddenly I was hesitant to write. Suddenly, I was finding all these little things to tweak in my storyline, or thought maybe I needed to go back to make a more thorough outline. I was so close to the very thing I’ve been dying to do for so long but I couldn’t get myself to just do it.
Truthfully, I think I was just scared. Firstly because with this novel, I planned to really give it my all. This is the one I want to write to completion and try to have published. It suddenly felt like so much pressure to make it great right off the bat. And this desire to make sure my novel was perfect fed into the fear that came from realizing that I’d taken about two full years off of writing. (I quickly checked back in my computer as I typed that because TWO YEARS? How did I manage to not write anything for two years???) I wasn’t sure if I still had any skill left. What if I was just imagining pieces I wrote in the past were good and they actually weren’t? What if everything I had been planning and building for my future were based off of a mediocre skill that I over inflated in my mind?
But finally after a week or so of stalling, I finally sat down and just wrote. And it was so freeing to type out the story that had been bouncing around in my head for almost a year. Surprisingly, actually having words on a page made me feel so much less pressure. Through writing the beginning of Chapter 1, I realized I’m not always going to get it right on the first try. It’s possible to have a second draft, or a third, or maybe even more. The words flowing from my mind onto the page don’t have to come out perfectly.
And honestly, what I have written so far isn’t my best. I’m definitely rusty and trying to find my groove again. But even on the days where I feel like I’ve lost all talent, what really pushes me to keep going is the way that I felt that first night when I went to bed. I was giddy and happy and I finally felt like I was doing something special with my time. And with that feeling along, I’ll push through and keep writing. Even if I end up with a mediocre novel that I never let see the light of day and have to start all over with a new one. The fear of failure can’t overshadow the feeling that I’ve truly found what I am supposed to do.
Let me know if you’re interested in a blog about my writing/planning process. I’d love to share and possibly inspire others. And I’m interested to see how my process could differ from some of yours! Leave a comment below if that’s a topic you’d be interested to see.
CURRENTLY READING: We Met In December by Rosie Curtis. I know, I know! I’m still trying to get through this book. It’s halfway through the month already and I am severely behind on my January TBR.