So here’s the thing: if you want to write a novel this year, you should start writing it this month.
Not next month, not this fall. In fact you should start writing it today, not tomorrow!
There’s always going to be a long list of excuses. You don’t have the time (the big reason). You’re afraid of screwing up (the second big reason). You haven’t done an outline. You don’t know the first scene. You don’t know your ending. The characters aren’t fully developed yet.
There’s always going to be some excuse. Even if you have nothing to do for the next six weeks. Even if you have no responsibilities at all. (Wouldn’t that be nice, right?)
Because the truth is that novel writing is really, really hard. I just started drafting my twentieth novel this past Monday, and it hasn’t gotten any easier.
I still struggle every day I sit down to write, I do! I’ve been thinking about this new story for more than two years, and I’ve probably already messed it up in a few places. I feel like the chapters are too long, that the conflict isn’t compelling enough.
But you know one really great thing I did this week? I started it. I started writing the book after two years of thinking about it, and I’m giving myself three hours every day to get my words down.
Writing a novel is hard, but you know what’s fairly easy once you put your mind to it? Finding time every day to reach a word count, and then sticking to that schedule until you reach THE END.
I decided in May I was going to write 2,200 words a day on my new novel, seven days a week. That would get to me 15,400 words by the end of week one, and that would get me to 77,000 words by the end of week five.
Five weeks to write a novel. Seems kind of crazy, right? But, again, if you put your mind to it, you can get it done. You can do it!
I often say on here that you can write your book with just 200 words a day or just 500 words a day. And it’s true. You can.
The one problem with that method is that you have to stick to your schedule for so damn long. For months and months. And you might find yourself in week ten, week fifteen, week twenty, getting bored with your idea, or losing your way, and you might not finish it. I’m not sure if I could actually finish a novel if I wrote just 200–500 words a day.
But I can certainly finish a novel, and stick to a schedule, for five weeks. I just started my new book on Monday. It’s been only six days, and I’m already at 13,200 words. I’m almost twenty percent done with the novel’s first draft, which is kind of crazy.
Especially since six days ago I hadn’t written a word of it.
I thought about writing this new novel later in the summer. Or waiting until winter break. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to write this one. I wasn’t sure if I had the energy.
But I pushed past my fears, my reservations, and I just did it. I’m doing it. And four weeks from now, I will have a completed first draft of my latest novel.
So listen — if you’ve been thinking about writing a novel this year, if you want to finally get started on that idea you love, stop thinking about it, and do it!
Start today, not tomorrow. Give yourself permission to screw up. Give yourself permission to not meet your writing schedule on a day here and there.
Give yourself permission to write your novel. Not next year. Not next month. Not tomorrow.