There are plenty of reasons aspiring novelists decide to put off actually writing their novels.
As writers, we tend to be an introspective bunch, often internalizing what we see and hear on a daily basis. While this part of what makes us so capable of baring our souls and telling stories, it can sometimes be to our detriment.
Such is the case, for example, with the haters and naysayers in our lives.
Tune ’em out
Have you ever told someone you wanted to write a novel (or were already writing a novel) and were met with immediate criticism and discouragement?
These are the haters and naysayers, and there’s no shortage of people like this, as you might find out when you announce a big goal … and right away, someone comes straight out of the woodwork for the sole purpose of telling you what you are and aren’t capable of.
“Maybe you should take classes first!” someone might say when you wax enthusiastic about your project.
“Wait until later when you have more experience!” (My personal favorite. Like, How can I get experience if I don’t—well, anyway.)
Or even …
“You’re not qualified to write a book!” Ugh.
What they don’t realize is that you don’t need qualifications to write a book. Sure, some guidance is nice, especially when you’re a first-time novelist, but there are no barriers to entry, and no gatekeepers, for those who truly have the desire to write & publish a great novel.
People like this are all over
These types can be anywhere: at home, at school, at work, at church, lurking on internet forums, ready to pounce and tell you What Not To Do the second you tell them what it is you very much want to do.
(On a side note, you might be wondering why some people are like this. I’ve been racking my brain my whole life trying to figure this out. Best I can come up with is while certainly there are some who wish to hold you back—because in cutting you down they are able to feel better about themselves, like a grade-school bully—there could be other reasons, and generally speaking I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt. For example, it could be they’ve never taken a risk before and are afraid on your behalf. Or the opposite: maybe they’ve been in over their heads with something before, and they’re genuinely trying to save you from the same thing happening to you.)
But when it comes to writing a novel, I’m here to tell you that there is no time like the present.
Hanging back is a BIG risk
Life presents us with windows of opportunity, and in waiting, you run the risk of losing that window.
With so much at stake—this is your writing future we’re talking about!—kick the can down the road at your own peril.
Remember: that which you make a priority gets done. The flip side is that when something isn’t a priority for you, it can fall by the wayside very quickly. Life happens! That’s an almost egregious cliché, but it’s probably the best way to say it.
There will always be a reason you can’t invest the time to write a novel. But if there is any way that you can squeeze an extra hour out of your day, I would highly recommend doing this now, when the desire is high and the determination is there.
The alternative is waiting for the day when your life is suddenly free of all demands and commitments, which, needless to say, is never going to come.
And you are certainly not going to wake up one day, suddenly “qualified” to write a novel.
It’s a leap of faith, but one that will pay off.
The rest of your life starts when you have that first solid novel under your belt, because it’s the foundation your writing career will be built on.
So I say take that leap!
If you want to give yourself some serious motivation to get it done, we’re kicking off this 365-day writing challenge very soon. I’d love to see you there.
Oh! And the naysayers in your life? Invite them to join you.