When I ask aspiring authors ‘what’s stopping you writing your novel?’, the same answers pop up again and again:
lack of time
lack of energy
too much pressure
too many distractions
This makes me so sad. Writing should be fun! Yes, it can be tiring – but it should never be a burden.
You have a story in you.
Maybe it’s brand new. Maybe it’s been simmering away for a long time. For whatever reason, now is the right time to release your story into the world.
Don’t let fear or guilt or tiredness or self-doubt or distraction stop you!
These are my top tips for fitting writing into your life, without getting overwhelmed or exhausted.
1. Start by writing your ‘WHY’
Your reasons for writing are your own, and they matter.
Having a clear goal will help motivate you to write – even when you get blocked, or life gets in the way, or you just don’t feel like it anymore.
This is important: don’t be afraid to get super specific about your goal.
’I want to write a novel’ is not enough.
Your goal needs to be something personal and inspiring. Think about what writing a novel will mean to you and your life. Maybe you see yourself signing a six-figure publishing deal. Maybe you’re winning prizes or signing autographs. Maybe you’re self-publishing and sharing your story with the world. Maybe you’re reading the best bedtime story to happy kids. Maybe you have new-found confidence and pride in yourself and your abilities.
Write it all down. Keep your ‘why’ somewhere you can see it, so it can be a daily reminder to you to keep going – even when you feel tired, or busy, or frustrated, or distracted, or plagued by self-doubt.
2. Learn this mantra…
Repeat after me:
I am capable.
I am talented.
I am worth the effort.
Then just say it to yourself every day! Easy, right?
3. Write for just 5 minutes a day
If you struggle to carve out time to write in your busy day, then set yourself a time limit and make it something manageable. (TIP: if it exhausts you just thinking about it, you’ve made it too long!)
If you only have 5 minutes a day to write... write for only 5 minutes a day. Tell yourself you don’t have to write beyond that.
However… if you find yourself inspired and enjoying the process, feel free to carry on! It’s amazing what we can achieve when we get some momentum behind us. And it’s surprising what we’ll choose to do when we’re not being forced to.
4. Stop comparing yourself to other writers
I hear from too many aspiring writers, too often, about how they are held back from their dreams of writing because they don’t think they’re good enough.
Does that sound like you?
Here are 5 reasons you should stop that kind of thinking right now.
- You and your story are unique; no one else can write your story.
- Nobody starts at the finish line; if you don’t keep going, you’ll never get there!
- Every writer’s journey is different; there is no ‘right’ path.
- Writing should be fun; comparison robs you of that joy.
- Successful authors didn’t get there by themselves; writing a novel is a team event (so it’s a good thing you have me!)
5. Share your goals
The surest way for a dream to stay a dream is to keep it to yourself.
When you’re brave enough to own your dream and speak it out loud, you take the first step to ushering it into reality.
This is the truth: writing can be frustrating and it can be lonely. It’s often just you and your laptop (with only your characters for company – and goodness knows they can drive you crazy). So when you lose motivation, it’s too easy to quit when you’re the only person who will ever know.
Share your goals with someone you trust, someone who won’t let you give up. Preferably another writer. That way you’ll have someone to celebrate each and every small victory with!
For more top tips as well as daily motivation and inspiration for your best writing life, make sure you follow me on Instagram! Remember to turn on notifications so you don’t miss anything.