Reasons You Can't Write a Novel and How to Overcome Them.
I don’t have enough time.
Let’s face it, unless you’re independently wealthy, have a full staff taking care of your chores and no children, pets, friends, family or other hobbies there are always going to be things in your life that will distract you from that book you haven’t written. If you are serious about writing you have to make the time to write. Sometimes that means allowing the dishes to sit in the sink an extra day, or letting friends know you’re just not available to hang out tonight.
There are always people who say that they truly, genuinely, inescapably have far too much going in their lives to find the time to write. I actually believed them too until I met a woman with 6 kids, a day job, and three published novels with a few more on the way.
Before most famous writers were famous writers they were people with families, jobs and responsibilities just like you. They were bankers, journalists, farmers, teachers, governesses and librarians. They had children to take care of and houses to keep clean and running smoothly. Today some of these people are the most renowned and respected authors on the planet. Because they made writing a top priority and stuck with it no matter what came their way. If you are serious about writing than you are going to have to do the same.
I don’t have a computer.
Not having a computer will certainly make it harder to finish your novel. Harder, but by no means impossible. At the bare minimum you will need paper and a pen or pencil. A pen is ideal. Your life would be a little easier if you also had a flash drive or a rewritable disc. The disc is a little cheaper but will hold less storage. Unless your novel rivals War and Peace, you should be okay with either.
Armed with your storage device you can walk into any library (you’ll need a card at most) or internet café. Most libraries and some café’s have computers for public use. Type up your handwritten work and you’re on your way. Later you can print your work out and continue the edit by hand.
If even a flash drive or RW CD are not available to you there is another option. Websites like Google, Yahoo and Hotmail offer free email addresses with a fair amount of storage space. Create an account and send your work to yourself or save it in drafts. That way every time you can access the internet you can access your novel.
I know it won’t be good, so why bother?
Well, first of all, you need to get over yourself. Very few people manage to write something great the first time around. Just like anything else, writing takes practise. Practise makes better, and with every completed short story, novella or novel you are sure to get better.
Keep and open mind, learn from your mistakes and allow other people to read your work. When they do, listen to what they say and take it to heart.
I have learned one trick that really helped to take the pressure off and got me to the end of my first novel. Set out to write a bad novel. Don’t worry to much about the actual writing. Focus on creating the story and the characters. Once your bad novel is done you can either rewrite it until it’s good, or start again. With one novel (even a bad one) under your belt you will find the ice broken and the going a little easier.
I kant spel worth anything an dont eaven get me started on gramer.
This one is pretty easy to fix. English grammar is difficult to master but that is why so many people have written books on the subject. Your local library will be filled to the brimming. Even people confident in their mastery of the English language should at the very least browse through them. A personal favourite of mine is Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.
As for as your spelling goes, that’s what spell check is for! Use it, and use it well. After you’ve written your poorly punctuated, poorly spelt novel, ask friends to look it over. I promise your spelling and grammar will get better over time.
I don’t know where to start/ I have no inspiration.
One handy tool if you don’t know where to start is to start at the end. Working your way backwards has the added benefit of not getting lost along the way. This is also a fun challenge for people who write regularly.
If inspiration is your problem than you are in luck because the world is full of it! There are so many things that have the potential to inspire a novel.
- A character
- A genre
- A time (future, 1800’s)
- A theme or subject (love, war, adventure, world domination)
- A dream of yours
- Something inspired by your life or a friend’s
- Read the news for inspiration
- Read other books for inspiration
- Read Hubs for inspiration!
What if’s are your strongest tool when trying to come up with a story or when moving your story forward.
- What if people where the size of ants?
- What if money was suddenly gone from the world?
- What if we ran out of fuel?
- What if you write novels and become rich and famous?
- What if dancing was outlawed?
I have pain that keeps me from writing.
Due to back injuries, disabilities or muscle strains from other aspects of life some people have problems sitting, typing and writing things by hand. I know this one well and I have found a few different ways to cope.
I have fairly recently developed fibromyalgia syndrome and when once I could sit at my computer for hours with little strain to my hands, wrists, neck and back writing had suddenly become a physical challenge, far more than a mental one. This was a very discouraging place to be.
If your hands get sore from typing and writing for too long you have a few options. One is to start each writing session with a short hand massage. Just rub your thumb into your hand muscles the same way you would with a foot massage. You can do this with lotion or with dry hands. You’ll have to wash the lotion off afterwards though as your hand with slip off your pen and make your key board oily. Then take breaks where you stretch your hands out every 10-30 minutes.
Another option is to use the sound recorder on your computer or buy a voice recorder. Try telling your story verbally, then you can either transcribe it yourself using the method above, or find a friendly helper to transcribe it for you.
If you have back and neck pain that stops you from writing for long hours than don’t. Sometimes I can’t sit at my computer or write by hand for more than 10-15 minutes. 10 minutes of writing is better than no writing at all. When you start to get sore or stiff take a break, do some stretches or some yoga, take a walk or lay down. Once the pain has subsided get right back to it!
I have problems with eye sight/ eye strain.
For eye strain I suggest turning down the brightness on your computer screen. You can also consider writing by hand when you’re feeling inspired and either typing in short spurts or having a friendly helper transcribe your handwritten novel.
If this is not an option for you, or if your concern is one of eye sight not eye strain there are still ways to get around this particular problem. There is technology that can be bought that will transcribe your spoken words into written ones. Software can be found at Nuance, BigHand and more. The software can run between $100 and $600.
If that’s just not in your price range you can also try the solution I mentioned above where you record your voice either using the sound recorder on your computer or by buying a voice recorder. It will cost way less than $100. You will of course need someone to transcribe your material. Either a paid transcriptionist, or a friendly helper.
There is no reason not to write a novel that doesn’t have a ready solution. Anyone and everyone can write a novel, but is only those with determination and discipline that will.
Thanks for reading,
Good luck and get writing!