The Journey of Writing a Novel: What I’ve Learned Thus Far

So, great news: I’m in the works of putting together my debut novel! It’s a mystery/crime drama that not only focuses on the investigation at hand, but also the personal lives of a couple of the characters. As exciting as it is, it’s extremely hard. Not the writing but the perseverance and making the time to do it.

I’ve written a total of six chapters and a little over 10,000 words so far, but it’s been a tough process that fortunately, came with its own set of lessons and rewards. So, without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned since I started my journey to write a novel.

1. Commitment and perseverance is key.

It’s important to have a desire to write a book because that’s what’ll hopefully motivate you to go through the rigorous process, but it’s vital to really be committed to it. Without commitment and perseverance, the book will never get completed!

I’m an afterschool teacher and I work with 2nd and 3rd graders, so it’s fair to say that I’m wiped at the end of the day, every day. So it’s difficult for me to sit down and write, because I have no energy.

But I’ve discovered that starting is the hard part, and once I commit to start writing, it’s smooth sailing from there, for the most part.

2. Small breaks are necessary and healthy.

We live in a society where working non-stop is put up on a pedestal and taking 5-10 minute breaks are considered lazy. Those may be valid views, but they’re certainly not healthy ones.

Your brain needs a break during the day, and if you’re working on a project that requires long hours, it definitely needs that snack break.

A majority of writing is a mental process, because I’m using the ideas in my mind to formulate good dialogue, plot points, character backstories, and etc. So for me, getting up from my seat to stretch or just watching The Office for 10 minutes, will get the creative juices flowing again!

3. A support system helps in so many ways.

Having a support system is beneficial in more ways than I can count. Whether it’s for your relationship, your dreams and goals, or an intensive journey like writing a novel, it can help more than hurt.

Because writing a novel can get intense and it can get stressful, you need people rooting for you! It’ll help you to persevere.

Currently, my boyfriend and his mom have been reading my novel chapter-by-chapter and giving me feedback, in addition to encouragement, and both have been very helpful!

They’re wonderful people who love reading good books so they’ve really helped me to trudge through this daunting writing journey.

4. Put your aspirations into action!

All of us have ambitions and dreams that we want to fulfill, whether it’s a job, a relationship, a lifestyle or a particular project.

But having that desire doesn’t hold any weight unless you actually take the step to do it! Writing a book isn’t an easy or quick process, and the only way to do it is to do it.

For me, I have so many unfinished screenplays and novels because I didn’t finish what I started. Maybe some of them, it was wise to let it go, but a few of them, are really great ideas that I just didn’t invest in because I was lazy.

My work-in-progress (WIP) is developing because I decided to put my desire to write a book, into action.

5. Anything that’s worth it, requires investment and effort.

I firmly believe that anything that is worth fighting for or worth the time and effort, doesn’t come easy and it will be difficult, because nothing is given to us on a silver platter.

Writing a book requires a lot of investment: energy, time, dedication, and possibly money depending on whether you want to self-publish or go the traditional route.

And that doesn’t mean that it’s not meant to be, or that you made the wrong decision. You haven’t! There’s something within you that is the driving force behind your passion and you just have to put in the dedication and effort or you won’t be able to produce anything.

There are times when I want to give up and think that maybe I wasted my time outlining, writing and looking for inspiration, but stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, it isn’t. I just need that push because once I get started, there’s no stopping me!

**If you are interested in beta reading (reading and giving me feedback), please email me: sarah.syu91@gmail.com!

Featured Image: iStock

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