It’s not as easy as you might think to write a novel. Or maybe you’re anticipating for it to be super difficult, in which case I would tell you that you’re probably right. The beautiful thing about writing is that everyone has a different experience with it. For me, outlining is infinitely more difficult than actually sitting down and writing it. For you, maybe outlining is the best part, and actually carrying it out is cumbersome. No matter how you find the process for writing your dream novel to be- you’re going to need to prepare.
There are many different fronts in which you need to prepare before writing your novel. Mentally, to commit to it, even when it gets hard. Technically, for making a schedule. In terms of actually writing your novel, for an outline or at the very least a rough plan.
Starting a new novel, whether a seasoned pro or brand new beginner, isn’t an easy feat.
If you were so infatuated with your old story, you could feel like you won’t ever be able to do better. That can definitely be something major that holds you back. But, as cliched as it might sound, you can’t make another great work if you never give yourself the chance to start it.
It can be hard to start a new novel if you think it won’t ever measure up. You might feel compelled not to start just because you might fail. You won’t ever know that, though, if you don’t try. If you’re struggling with this, remind yourself why you write to begin with. It’s not for anyone else- it’s for you. You should be writing because writing makes you happy. You are the narrator of your story, and you decide the path it takes. It doesn’t matter how this work is compared to your previous one, because they exist separate from each other.
As a new writer, or maybe even as a seasoned one, you have to commit to your project. If you’re really serious about making your dream novel a reality, you have to mentally prepare yourself for it. You have to accept that it isn’t always going to be easy, but you’re going to stick through it and write it.
Just sitting down and making a quick note on a post-note, “I’m going to finish writing my novel,” can make a world of difference. Writing it down makes it real. Writing down your goal makes you more likely to commit to it, especially if you put it somewhere you’ll see it every day.
Schedules. Some people love them, some hate them. No matter your stance on schedules, they can be incredibly helpful in keeping on track towards your goals.
Personally, I LOVE google sheets and google docs. They are so useful to visualize your schedule, and keep it organized. It doesn’t matter if you use google sheets, exel, or any other program. There are so many applications out there you can use to create the schedule layout that works for you, and you might want to explore them to see which works best for you. An example of a schedule I’ve made for myself:
It was super simple to make- all I had to do was create a table in a google doc and fill it in however I liked. You might notice that it’s very loose, just generally, ‘morning, afternoon, night.’ I like making my schedules not to plan out every second of what’s going to happen, but to give me a goal and a general timeframe to complete it.
You might not like making schedules at all, or if you do, maybe you like to plan out every second of every minute of every hour. Use whatever scheduling tactics that work for you! Scheduling can definitely be a vital part in preparing to write your novel.
This step can include anything from outlining to creating a storybinder. It can be as little as one page describing the general direction your novel is going to go, and as much as a storyboard plotting out every scene in detail.
Personally, I love making a storybinder. A pyhsical binder where I can put everything having to do with my work in progress. I have different tabs organizing each part of my novel that I want to track.
Personally, I’ve realized that to be effective in my writing sessions, I need at least a general outline. I’ve been learning how to make a beat sheet that works for me, and outlining the goal of each scene before I write it. Others find it sufficient to just have an idea of their story’s direction and go from there. Ultimately, you have to find whichever process works the best for you.
Everyone has their own process for preparing themselves to write a new novel. It’s difficult to commit to something you’ll put your heart, sweat, and tears into without knowing how it’s going to end up. Find the process that works best for you, and know that it can change. I’m still figuring out what writing preparations are the best for me; what works and what doesn’t.
Have fun writing your next novel!