I do a lot of speaking engagements, and one question is asked the most; “What is your number one piece of advice for struggling writers?”
The answer is simple; write every day.
Now, this may sound simplistic, but it is the truth.
Writing a novel is a monumental task! Even if you keep it brief, and only write some 80,000 words for your manuscrīpt, that is still a huge task. As the average fantasy novel is 120,000 to 300,000 words, the task grows exponentially.
Every writer is different. I have talked to some who say their best time to write is late at night, others in the daytime. For me, my best time is from 8 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Still, the fact remains, no matter what time you write, you are still going to be limited to how much you can write in a day.
For me, my quota is 3,500 words a day. Some say they cannot write more than a thousand. Others around 5,000. Yet, even when life takes hold of me, and my day is shot on non-writing chores, I will sit down before bedtime and write one single line of something.
Think of it like this…
A few years gone by, we were moving. As I had no funds to hire a moving company, I did the next best thing – rented a U-Haul, bought pizza for my friends, and packed things up myself.
During this event, my oldest son – at the time around three-years of age – was working on a project of his own that my wife had tasked him with to keep him busy as we packed and loaded.
Rounding the corner of the driveway, with the early Pennsylvanian sunlight glinting off his blonde head, he walked up the ramp of the truck and sighed to get my attention. “Daddy, I can’t finish. There is just too much that mommy wants me to do.”
Kneeling down to one knee, I picked him up and sat him on my leg. “Son,” I pointed into the garage at the mound of boxes awaiting their turn to be loaded. “Do you see all that stuff in the garage?”
Turning his blue eyes to where I pointed, he nodded.
Grabbing his chin, I turned his head to look into his eyes. “Do you think I will be able to load all that stuff into this truck in one trip? Pick it all up at the same time, carry it up that ramp, and set it down in a nice, neat pile?”
My son smiled and shook his head.
“So, how am I going to do it then, you may ask? Simple. One box at a time. It will take me all day, I will be tired when it is done, but so long as I do not quite, it will all be loaded.”
For a three-year-old, I think he got it. He eventually finished his project and was excited that he did.
Writing a novel is the same. It is an immense task that, at the start, looks unachievable. Yet, by writing every day, you will reach the end. Your truck-load of words will get loaded.
The biggest problem is, as a new writer, you not only have the task of finishing the book; you also have the confidence issue that will gnaw at your soul, and do its best to thwart you from finishing your project.
So, a writer’s confidence (as well as writing with confidence) will be my next Blog topic.
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