Now to get back to today's blog.
What is stopping you from finishing your novel?
Could it be writer's block?
Or could it be something else, something you haven't identified nor do you want to? Could it be that you don't want to finish?
Don't look so astonished. I've had it happen to me. But before we delve into this weighty subject let's look at the excuses of writer's block and no time.
Writer's block . . .
The dictionary says writer's block is a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece. Wow. That tugs on the I-don't-want-to-finish thread, doesn't it.? Hang on to that thought. We're going to talk about it, but not now.
Most people think they have writer's block when what has really happened is they have written themselves into a corner, and they don't know what do to next. A good way to avoid this pitfall is to know how your story needs to end. And a good way to do that is to write an outline.
This outline can be as detailed as you need it to be to keep you on course. Some people write a synopsis of their story and that's enough to keep them on track. Is a synopsis or an outline a cure? No. I had outlined one book, and as I started writing, I came across some wonderful information about a secondary character that was an actual person in history. It was fascinating, and I just knew my readers would want to know about this character. But pretty soon I had written my story into a corner. That's when I realized the secondary character had hijacked my novel. I had to delete several chapters. Once I did that and stayed close to my main character and the outline, all was well.
Another reason you may have writer's block is you need to do more research. Research can open your mind to more possibilities for your character. So if you think you're suffering from writers block . . .
- write an outline,
- check to see if a secondary character has hijacked your story,
- or roll up your sleeves and do more research.
No time . . .
There are many ways to write around a busy schedule. I have a good friend who is writing a terrific story. She has four little children and is expecting her fifth. She's on the go every day, but she loves to write and has her laptop with her most of the time, writing whenever she can. I also have a friend who works a full-time job, has a family, and also does charity work, but late at night she sneaks off to her computer and writes her stories. Now, I know there is a time and season for everything and maybe the time isn't right for you to work on a novel, but for the most part if you really want to you can find the time to write. The "no-time" excuse is just that . . . an excuse. If you're serious about your writing you'll make the time.
You don't want to finish . . .
So you've been working on this story for say . . . five, ten, twenty years. You keep revising, you even start over several times but you can't seem to close the deal. Your problem could be that you're a perfectionist, you're afraid, or you don't want to say good-bye to the story and characters you've grown to love. In short, you don't want to finish. The thing you need to remember is . . . you can't sell, you can't progress, you can't grow as a writer until you realize that no book is perfect, everyone is scared, and you can write another story peopled with characters that you love. You can't really cure this ailment until you make up your mind to do it. Face the problem and then get on with it.
With each book you write, you learn. I had written over eight novels before I sold my first. And guess what? I have sold four other books and my publisher is interested in almost all of the novels I've written. I have to go back and fix those first ones, but I'm very hopeful that most of my stories will find their way to book stores. I know other authors who have had the same experience. Once they sold they were able to sale their other stories. So, keep writing, keep working, and don't give up because some day you'll be able to sell your books.
Be diligent and finish that novel. You deserve to grow, to learn, and to succeed.
I know that I've posted other blogs about this subject, but I know many writers who struggle with this issue. I find it very sad. I couldn't possibly list all the reasons why people can't seem to finish their novels. Please share reasons you know that stop writers from finishing a novel. If we work together we might help other writers leap over this hurdle.