I hear it all the time.
“Oh, I’d really like to write a novel but I have no writing skill.”
“I have this great idea for a book but it would suck if I wrote it.”
“I should write about my life, but I can’t write.”
Not everyone has a compulsion to write a book, but many many people who do never write it because they are afraid it will suck.
Let me help you out here.
yes. Your first draft of your first novel has a 99.9% chance of sucking.
Now, you might be bristling or despairing, but what I really want is for you to feel liberated. Because it is okay to suck the first time you do something. Do you think DaVinci’s 5 year old doodle in the sand looked like the Mona Lisa? Do you think Shakespeare’s first poem compelled people to tears of joy?
Okay, maybe they did. They were masters, but I think not. Everything takes practice. Everything takes refining.
Here’s the good news. Just because that first draft sucks, doesn’t mean its trash. If you love it, you can save it. That’s the amazing thing about writing. In my opinion EVERY SINGLE BOOK can be saved. So if you’re leaning over that precipice, afraid that making that leap means you could destroy your brilliant idea for good, take a deep breath and tell yourself this
It’s okay to suck because you can only get better from there.
A carpenter’s first project is not a Victorian style mahogany china cabinet with inlaid abalone. It’s probably just nailing a couple 2x4s together. Forget about complex subplots, multi-layers themes and epiphanies on the meaning of life and life. You have your idea for a story so find the simplest way to tell it.
Outline that sucker:
I am a terrible outliner. I am not a particularly organized writer. I currently have about 500 half finished novels. Do you see where I am going here? Outlines get you started. They keep you going. They carrying you through to the end. They’re also the first baby step toward writing the book. So, you’re a little nervous about the book? Just write the outline. It will allow you to work out exactly where your book is going and make the writing part alot less intimidating.
Don’t nitpick, just write:
Another problem of mine, I go back and start picking apart what I’ve already written before I’ve completed the novel. It took me almost five years to write my epic urban fantasy “The Singing Cat” because I kept picking. And then you know what happened when I finished it? I had to go back and rewrite it anyway. So just power through. Keep notes about things that need to change in revisions but get ‘er done!
So now it’s written and yes, it does indeed suck:
Go you! You wrote a freaking novel! Now edit, proofread, edit, rewrite. Rinse. Repeat. But
What it requires though is drive, work, courage, and most of all, your ego to take a hike. Even the very best writers do not write perfect first drafts and new writers are way more likely to be dealing with plot holes, adverb overload, character issues and a hole slew of other problems than someone who has been doing this for a while.
But that’s okay. Writing may be one of the few arts that you can continue to change until it’s perfect. Use your friends. Use author critiquing websites. Run a search for various editing programs available online. Go on Pinterest and look up every article you can on writing and editing. Check out my Pinterest board. I have a ton. And grab some of the writing humor memes too because they will assure you that every writer is struggling with the same feelings you are.
If you believe in your story, it can be saved. But first you have to write it.