From the Editor-in-Chief, Mary Jaksch:
Do you have dreams of writing a book?
Or of starting a journal, writing a memoir, creating a report, writing guest posts, writing a blog, or any other activity that involves writing?
Make your dreams come true in 2016 and achieve your writing goals!
Just imagine how proud you’ll be to view your finished project!
Join the challenge to make your writing dreams come true! Add a comment to this post to commit to your writing goal. Throughout the year, we’ll run articles to help you make your dreams a reality.
The first step is to remove the barriers that keep us from realizing our dreams. Because each of us has barriers that seem insurmountable.
Read on to find out how to overcome YOUR barriers!
I’ve invited novice author PD Simeon to share the journey of writing the first novel with us. PD is an accomplished non-fiction writer.
By PD Simeon
For the last five years, I’ve been dreaming of writing a thriller, but I never got around to it.
Does that sound familiar? I mean, the bit about not getting around to it?
I bet you too dream of writing something special!
According to writer Joseph Epstein, “81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it.”
But how many of them really complete a book? Very few, I would think. Just like my father.
He planned to write a memoir one day, but he died in a car accident without writing a single page of it.
What a waste.
What about you?
What do you dream of writing?
Whatever you dream of doing, NOW is the perfect time to start.
Because, if not now, when?
In one year? In five years? In ten years?
If we keep putting our dreams on the back burner, we fritter our life away and never get to fulfill our dreams.
Wouldn’t that be sad?
It’s called a challenge because stepping up and starting a big project is scary.
To tell the truth, I’m terrified. But also excited.
And that brings me to barriers we need to overcome in order to get going.
Here are the barriers I encountered—and how I am overcoming them.
This is a question of confidence. I think none of us have the confidence to tackle a big, new project. Nobody feels ‘good enough.’
In my case, I’ve never written fiction before, let alone a whole novel. Just thinking about writing a thriller makes my knees knock.
What if I can’t do it? What if people hate it? What about bad reviews? What if I get stuck somewhere in the middle?
I reckon the only way to deal with the fear is to accept it.
If we wait for the fear to go away, we’ll never make our dreams come true.
It’s heartening to know that other authors feel fear as well. Mary Jaksch, Editor-in-Chief of WritetoDone.com recommended the book Write Away to me. It is about creating a novel, by renowned author Elizabeth George. She says:
When I was creating For the Sake of Elena, I became so incapacitated by fear that I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I finally resorted to saying “These are only words and I will not let words defeat me” in order to get up and get to work. Thus I struggled to the end of the novel.
There you go! She too was afraid—and it wasn’t even her first novel…
You have no idea how to achieve your pet project, right? I’m with you there.
Remember, it’s okay not to know how to do it.
Once you’ve done it, you’ll know how to do it. Right now, there is a big gap between your dream and reality.
Luckily, we are part of the WritetoDone community and its big library of articles. We can connect and help each other.
We don’t have to do it all ourselves and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Once we take the first step, the next step will appear.
One of the factors that provoke fear is that each new project looks ENORMOUS. So one of the most important steps is to get a handle on how big the project actually is and then to chunk it down.
Every new project seems insurmountable when we first envision it. To make your goal manageable, you need to chunk it down.
Sometimes our biggest life goals seem so overwhelming. We rarely see them as a series of small, achievable tasks, but in reality, breaking down a large goal into smaller tasks—and accomplishing them one at a time—is exactly how any big goal gets achieved.
The first step of chunking down your project is to look at the scope of your project.
The word count is a simple way to assess the scope. You can find out the size of your project by checking the word count of comparable projects.
Here’s how I did it:
I checked five thrillers, worked out the average number of words on each page and then multiplied the word count by the number of pages to get to a total.
It seemed that the going word count for thrillers is between 60,000 and 80,000 words. I decided to target 80,000 words for my thriller [gulp]. Next, I divided the total word count by the number of days in the year.
I found that I would have to write only 220 words each day in order to complete the book in one year. Taking into account revising and editing, a daily word count of 400 words would enable me to finish the book within a year.
Sounds manageable, doesn’t it?
What about the project you dream of? How many words would you have to write each day to fulfill it?
Is your life overflowing? Do you find it difficult to get even the most important things done?
That’s the reality of starting something new. It seems impossible.
So where to find the time? I think there is only one way to find the time, and that is to get up an hour earlier and start the day with writing. The trick is not to look at emails or anything else. Your whole focus has got to be on your writing.
If I don’t write early in the morning, I get swamped with answering emails and other tasks, and writing for a project gets pushed further and further back.
I’m starting the project on January 1st and I’ll let you know how I get on with getting up an hour earlier. It seems daunting, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I’m keeping my toes crossed…
Here are two simple steps to join the Writing Challenge:
Step 1: Take your dream of writing off the shelf and dust it off. Give it a working title. In my case, I’m going to write a mystery suspense novel with the working title The Brazilian Incident.
Step 2: Write a comment below and announce that you’re going to join the Great Writing Challenge 2016. Let us know what you plan to write, okay?
I’d like to thank Mary Jaksch for allowing me to share my journey with you all and hope that we can inspire each other to start, and to keep going.
My next step of the Challenge will be to settle on a pen name. I’ve started doing some research and will share how I came up with my pen name (and what mistakes to avoid) in my next guest post here on WritetoDone.
Please write in the comments to join me for the Great Writing Challenge 2016!
We’ll all celebrate together at the end of the year! Just imagine how proud we’ll feel… WOOT!
Oh, and please share this post with your friends on social media. I’d appreciate it 🙂
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