Insights In Writing: Writers Block/First Novel
Now I don’t have much professional experience in the matter, but I do have some general experience. I find one of the best attributes a writer can have is to be able to write all the time. To be sick, hungry, tired, sore, or be anywhere on the planet, and still be able to write. The hand touches the keyboard, or the pen gently rests on the paper, and the words flow easily out.
At an early age I found the power writing has, the easy way it is to express oneself on paper or digital screen compared to the verbal form heard throughout the world. And since then, I’ve always been able to write. Not well sometimes, I’ll admit, but write none the less. It’s a powerful asset to have, something that is intangible and very rewarding.
Let’s all face it - writers block sucks. The feeling of wanting to write, to really want to, and to have some sort of mental road block stopping you. It’s terrible, humiliating, and very frustrating. And how, you ask, do you break through such a solid and seemingly unmoving road block? You write. You use the most powerful weapon you have, your hand and your pen, and you write. You write whatever: a list of top ten places you want to visit, a quick summary of the day, a dream you sort of remember from the night before. Before long you’ll forget you ever had that road block stopping you; before long you’ll be writing the golden masterpiece you always knew you could write.
I’d like to take this a little farther and discuss the problems many of us face when wanting to write a novel. It’s every writers dream to be able to write the next great novel, the one that one will become a best seller, a classic. The dream is also every writer’s greatest nemesis. We never are able to get over that first hump and write the first paragraph of our first novel. We have all these great awe inspiring ideas – perhaps a few complex characters already created – but we can never put thought into fiction. For me, the problem I always had, was that I thought that if I put my great ideas into word it may ruin them; I liked what I envisioned in my mind, and didn’t want to break that tapestry.
I doubt I even have to ask what you think the way is to get over this hump. You probably already guessed it. You just have to write. Write that first paragraph, then that first page, then that first chapter. Writing is a biological process; your words will morph over time, and your ideas will expand with each created page. The more you write, the more you will dream, and the greater your story will become. Before long that masterpiece you saw in your mind before will seem even greater, even more breathtaking.
When I wrote my first novel, I started with no general idea or outline at all. I just, out of the blue, created a character, and then wrote from there. It’s amazing how the story evolved before my eyes. It was a biological entity – always changing and evolving with new characters and more detailed plot. At times I didn’t even know what the next chapter would bring. You’ll have a few revelations in the process, and before long you’ll know what kind of road you’re paving for the entire trip. But it starts with just writing, whether you have an idea in mind or none at all.
What’s my biggest point from all this? Start writing right now. If you have a dream of writing a novel and becoming an author, start your first book right now. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have idea – that will come as you write. Not to sound cliché, but a famous hockey player once said: “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
For our purposes it should say: “You’ll never write a novel if you never write a single sentence.”
Like taking shots in hockey, you just have to write. Eventually you’ll score a few goals; eventually you’ll write that great novel; eventually you will become a successful writer.
To hone your skills, try out the freelance market.