You only fail if you stop writing – Ray Bradbury.
You started out strong, full-of-inspiration, ready to do-this-thing. Week one flew by in a blur of writing fury, week two dragged a little slower as you began to question your characters and plot. Now you find yourself marooned in the middle of Camp Nanowrimo, having serious doubts about your novel. Do not, I repeat, do not give up now. You have done an amazing job to get this far. Today I’m turning to our author interviews for the best advice on how to beat back those self-doubt demons and power the rest of the way through, even when you think your writing stinks.
Get clear on your Why
‘Ask yourself the question “Why do I want to write?” and answer it honestly. Study the answer. Analyze and dissect it and hold onto it when the tides of the journey start to roil and thrash, threatening to tow you under. It will hopefully serve as a buoy in those inevitably turbulent times. It does for me.’ – Anna Vera.
Stop the comparison game
‘It’s so easy to get caught up in everyone’s highlight reels on social media and to feel like you’re not good enough, you’re not doing enough, you should be marketing more, you should be writing more, you should be editing more . . . Trust me when I say that YOU ARE DOING ENOUGH. YOU ARE ENOUGH. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s because it’s supposed to be unique and beautiful to you. Don’t rob yourself of that experience. Please. It’s one of the best ones you’ll ever have, I promise.’ – Kristen Martin.
Give yourself a break
‘Remember that you’re not alone in this scaling the side of a mountain type climb of being an author. If you ever feel like a failure, that you’ll never finish that manuscript, that your story and characters won’t be loved, well, we all have felt this way. We might even be experiencing one of these thoughts at this very moment. So go have a drink, watch a silly show, run around the block, hang out with friends, do whatever you need to do to remove the rain cloud of funk, and then sit back down and keep on writing!’ – E. J. Mellow.
Allow yourself to write badly
‘Don’t be afraid to write crap. We all do it, and it’s always a weird, somewhat painful process. BUT that’s how you learn and how you get better. Crap makes great fertilizer for beautiful things to grow!’ – Kim Chance.
Connect with other writers
‘I always think I’m doing totally fine with the isolation, and the fact that I’m struggling with this or that has nothing to do with feeling so alone. Then I go to a conference with other writers, or talk with other writers online, and find myself totally revitalized! Getting together a tribe you can reach out to is really helpful.’- Devri Walls.
‘Go on social media and meet as many writers as you can. Make friends with people. It doesn’t matter if they live on the other side of the world because technology can connect everyone with a push of the button. Once you find writers like yourself, you’ll never feel alone again.’ – Mandi Lynn.
Do what works for you
I’m a strong advocate for finding your own process and being true to it. What works for me or your favorite author or your critique partner might not work for you, and that’s totally okay! Create the way you and your stories need you to.' - Joanna Ruth Meyer.
And finally, don't give up
'Never give up. Even when life gets in the way and every writing door seems to be slamming, never stop writing. Even if it’s just 100 words a day. Even if you have no aspirations to be published or to let anyone see your work. If you love writing, you must write, because, as Franz Kafka so perfectly put it, 'A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.' - Diana Anderson-Tyler.
‘Finish your story. First drafts can be defeating, but you need to hang in through the slog. Keep writing and pushing through until you can write "The End". Even if the manuscript needs a ton of revision, you still have something to work with rather than staring at a blank page.’ – Amy Trueblood.
‘Don’t give up. Whatever obstacle is in your way right now, make it your life’s mission to overcome it. I promise, it will be worth it. Your story is worth it.’ – Jessi Elliott.
Best of luck with the second half of Camp Nanowrimo. I’ll see you at the finish line!