I think the best place to begin is with the old expression, “Rough drafts don’t have to be perfect…they just have to be written.” To me, that pretty much says it all. Just write it. Editing comes later. Grammar, spelling and structure can all be fixed. In fact, that’s what editing if for.
The first hurdle is the rough draft. Maybe we should start calling it the “first draft” instead of the rough draft. Rough draft sounds daunting. Believe me, if I can do it…so can you. Unfortunately, most people never make it through this phase. For many, facing the daunting task of completing your story becomes insurmountable. They give up when the writing becomes more work than they realized. This is the part that separates the readers from the writers.
If you’ve ever tried your hand at writing a novel, you soon realize that it isn’t all book signings and accolades. From first draft to signed contract, writing is a lot of work. Even once the contract is signed, your work isn’t done. There are appearances, signings, interviews, marketing and much, much more. It’s hard work. If it was easy, then everyone would be an author…but I digress.
All you have to do is write. Even if you don’t do it for anyone but yourself…WRITE! Finishing your manuscript is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Even if you never get it to print, you’ve accomplished something that most people never do. You’ve written a book. Congratulations and welcome to the club. The secret decoder ring and instructions on how to perform the secret handshake will arrive in the mail. Just kidding.
But…to actually do that, you have to write. Stephen King reportedly writes a thousand words a day, every day. Myself, I write when I have the time, which is far too infrequent for my tastes. Find what works for you and do that. If you really want to, you will find the time. Even if it’s rare.
If you truly want to write, you will find a way…and the time. If you set aside time and dedicate yourself, you will finish that book. Remember, it’s not a race or a contest. Work at your own pace. Make the journey your own and enjoy every step of the way. I don’t know of a single author who doesn’t look back on the creative process with pride. You should be proud of it.
Keep writing and don’t give up when it doesn’t come as easily as you always thought it would. Writing is work, but it’s gratifying work. Don’t give up. You’ll be glad that you didn’t. Stick with it and soon you’ll get to write the words you’ve been waiting to write for as long as you’ve dreamed of being a writer…