The hardest part of being a writer for me happens before I start writing. The planning. It’s not a problem of my processes, I know what to do but I’m still not sure how to get it all done and survive it. That’s because having an amazing idea in my head is great but testing that idea and bringing it out and onto paper is just a downhill slope.
It has to be done and I absolutely hate doing it.
These are the are five things that help me pull through.
1.Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. As much as I’m enthralled in the novel I plan to start writing if I only focus on one project before It’s started then I’m going start to loose my mind. I can be stuck in the planning process for so long that if I don’t write other short stories on the side, that don’t need a lot of plan and I can do off the top of my head, the doubt starts kicking through the door and I never get to writing. Am I any good at this?Should I be a writer? AGHHHH….lock. That. Door.
2. One problem at a time! There’s so much you need to plan for your novel how do you expect to get it all done at once and figure these things out so quickly, huh? You can’t. You do need characterisation and setting and plot and subplot and relationships, backstory, etc. All of this takes time, and they are all projects in on themselves. It seems bizarre to me some writers have characters without a story to be in. I write stories first. It’s always the story I see first…but each writer is different. Just look at the one box you need to tick first and then the one you need to tick next. Don’t skip to another and go back and forth, to speed through your planning so you can start already, let go of that stressing! Planning well really pays off. You’ll get to writing…eventually.
3. Write your setting. So a lot of writers don’t like adding a lot of description of the setting. Which is a good idea for letting the reader see their version of the story you wrote and making it easier for them to imagine But it is helpful to ground your story in the setting you see and you’re writing about. Most of what you write about the world and about the characters won’t appear in your novel but it does bring realism to you and your story. Have a complete understanding of the characters and where they are will make it so much easier to tell the story, almost as if it’s a real memory. It can also act as a great escape when your story is still in the making and a little cluttered and disorganised if it’s got the world building fixed and ready for your characters to explore.
4. Revise. I treat my novel like I treat my exams. I write notecards, I use mindmaps. There will be colour everywhere, and I’m going to eat a lot of junk food. The writing is the main event, and I choose this story for a reason so I’m going to study my work like everything depends on the run up to when you start that first chapter.
5. Plan the emotive. For me to care about these people in my story they can’t just be words on a page. As crazy as it seems I need to see what they care about I need to see their limit, watch them go off the edge and spike up and down; I need to watch the emotional roller coaster they’re on from before and after the novel’s main timeline. That’s how I care about them and that’ll be why I keep going with their story.