The Hardest Part of Writing a Novel
Becoming a writer can be easy or tough depending on what day you’re asking yourself the question. Different writers face different challenges, but we’ve compiled some of the most common challenges that many writers have faced.
#1. Sitting down and write
Finding the first word to write is a major hurdle for many writers. Finding the motivation to sit down and put the pen on paper is equally hard. Even when they already have the big picture in their minds, finding the right word to start is such a difficult thing to do.
If this sounds like you, then just write whatever you want even if it’s only remotely related to the story. Remember: you can edit your writing later. Don’t think much about it. If it’s hard to get it right the first time, then don’t.
It also helps if you have a concrete idea of what you want to write. If you want to write a fantasy novel involving werewolves, mechas, aliens, and princesses, for example, just scribble down the rough sketches of the characters, settings, and such.
#2. Editing and proofreading
It is tedious and time-consuming to try and fix your own mistakes. Some writers can’t shake the feeling that they’re not doing enough editing. They ended up trapped in the never-ending loop of writing and editing. The solution? Stop after three iterations and move on.
Another solution is to someone else proofread your work. It’s scary, we know. You can feel the judgment as their eyes steer from your work to you multiple times. When you’re not ready to let another human read your work, you can always use a spelling and grammar checking tool to cover your blind spots.
#3. Continuing the story
For those who have no problem writing that first chapter, sometimes making the second one is the real challenge. “How do I go from here?” is the question that many writers have asked themselves.
To force yourself to break free from vague ideas, you may want to try creating a mind map. That way you can elaborate on the details and keep your mind focus on what’s important for the story to progress.
#4. Keeping up
Believe it or not, some writers have trouble keeping up with themselves. It’s the opposite of having a writer’s block. Their brains churn out plots for the next chapter even when the current one isn’t complete yet.
A good way to deal with this problem is to take notes, put them aside, and focus on what’s in front of you.
Moving from one scene or chapter to the next requires smooth transitions so that the story flows nicely without unwanted gaps. When the scene changes between chapters, you don’t need to do much since the readers already expect it. But what should you do when the scene changes mid-chapter?
Since story transitions move the characters to a new location, time, or event, it helps to describe them so the readers are aware of the changes. Keep the transitions short to focus on what’s happening after the transition.
Your brain has its own way to sabotage your efforts. Right in the middle of writing and your brain suddenly says, “You’re not good enough. Just stop!”
When that happens, just tell your brain to shut up and keep its opinion for itself. Fight the urge to stop with will-power and self-discipline. Taking a breather is OK, but steel yourself when the urge to keep on lazying about is getting stronger. Go sit and continue your writing even if it’s just one sentence.