Welcome to my page dedicated to anyone who's always wanted to write a novel, but didn't know where to start. I'll post a tip each day from my book YOUR PERSONAL FICTION-WRITING COACH: 365 Days of Motivation & Tips to Write a Great Book! and then, I want to hear from you:  Like the Personal Fiction-Writing Coach FB page and leave a comment to let me and your fellow writers know if the day's tip or writing exercise resonates with you and your project. Grab your writing pals and send them over, too!

Read this first.

So you want to be a writer? Or maybe you’re already a writer, but can’t seem to get that novel written? Or you’ve written a few books, but the thrill is gone. Is there a trick, you wonder, to writing a great book, or even finishing a so-so book? Why, yes—there are three tricks, actually, that veteran writers like me keep top secret (shhhh!):

  1. Get started already.
  2. Clunk through it.
  3. Find ways not to stop until you get to The End.

The list probably isn’t the romantic, idealistic answer you were hoping for, but I wrote this book with the idea of dispensing daily inspiration to get you to think about your story—and to write. Because I know from experience your motivation will give out before your imagination will. This book is structured to ease you through the life-cycle of creating a full-length novel, from broad stroke advice and self-evaluating questions, to more specific tips when you get to the planning and writing stages. I’ve also included pitfalls to avoid, lessons I’ve learned and techniques to help you manage your writing time.

If you like guarantees, writing isn’t for you. That said, if you write a novel and put it out into the universe, I guarantee you will:

  • Learn a lot about yourself along the way. (Are you funny? Mean? Truthful? Brave?)
  • Be fulfilled in a way only other writers can comprehend. (It’s intoxicating.)
  • Change the world some. (Something that wasn’t there before, suddenly will be.)

And that’s cool. Ready? Let’s do this. ~

This daily serial will run through December 31. Each day's writing tip or exercise will be posted for 24 hours, 4am Eastern to 4am Eastern. Set a reminder on your calendar, fridge, or phone so you don't miss a single day of advice to get your novel finished!  (For general writing advice and to find out how I sold my first book, check out my Writers Q&A page.)

164. The mental demands of writing

I’m not sure if writers are prone to dark moods, or if people with dark moods are attracted to the writing profession. Most writers are introverts, so that already puts us behind the sociable bell curve. And most writers sit down to the computer with some baggage, i.e., insecurities that what we’re writing isn’t good enough. Some writers feel compelled to write because of an unhappy childhood or other experience.

Whew…we can be a morose bunch!

It’s natural to have some reservations about the work, about letting other people read it, about revising when we don’t want to, about unflattering feedback, rejection, and bad reviews. Top it off with the fact that writing is such a solitary experience, and it’s easy to turn inward and let those doubts multiply. Anxieties can manifest in bad writer behavior—pouting, lashing out, jealousy, anger, or shutting down. Writing is a personal journey, but you don’t have to take every reaction to your work so personally, and you don’t have to play out the stereotype that writing a novel is a long-suffering, angst-ridden endeavor.

Writing might seem like a passive, soft, or even easy vocation, but the truth is, fiction-writing isn’t for sissies. You have to develop a thick skin and unshakable confidence—not in the belief that everything you create will always be right, but in the belief you’ll always be able to revise and make it right, or your next attempt will be better. Writing a novel can be a mentally draining process because you put so much of yourself into it. But keep things in perspective—writing a novel should be a positive, happy, enriching experience!

I feel compelled to add that for some people who struggle with sadness, grief, and low-grade depression, writing can be a therapeutic tool; personally, writing has always been my salvation during life dips. That said, writing isn’t a replacement for professional therapy, so if you have any inkling that you might be in a dark place you can’t emerge from on your own, please reach out to the appropriate experts. ~

Comments about your own experiences?  Share with other writers on Facebook.

Check back tomorrow for the next tip from
365 Days of Motivation & Tips to Write a Great Book!
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