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10 Things That Hold Me Back From Writing My Novel

Illustration for article titled 10 Things That Hold Me Back From Writing My Novel

I'm sure every writer would have written a fantastic novel and have gotten published and made it on the New York Times Bestsellers List(An honor shared with Snooki, but whatever) if it weren't for certain circumstances and personal hangups.God knows I have had that thought for some time. Not to say that I actually have the talent to write The Greatest Novel Of Our Time.What I'm saying is that the goal isn't writing The Greatest Novel of Our Time, but in writing a novel.You can hope and dream and fantasize about your fandom and their ship wars, but at the end of the day, you've got to write a story.Some people get their work out there, and no matter the quality of the story, I admire their drive.I've yet to finish some of the million stories I've got percolating in my head. Here are a few reasons why they haven't been finished:

1.Me.

I am a procrastinator and a pleasure-seeker. Once things get difficult, I tend to shut down, and it takes a lot of tea and determination for me to slog through the hard parts. It's a fault that I am constantly working on in my writing.

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I also get too many ideas for stories.I'm always flying from one story to the next like a bee gathering nectar.Combined with my nature to procrastinate, it's a surprise anything gets written.

2.Facts

Fact-checking is an important part of story writing, but it can really be distracting.For example, I once got the crazy idea to write a story set in England during World War II. Being American and born in the late 80's, this is an experience that I've got to do research for. So I read up on daily life during World War II. I watched a few series set during the war.I checked and see if the situation I'm setting up is plausible or has happened.I read up on English culture and language. At this point, I haven't really written anything.Sometimes I have to remind myself to write and then pick over the history once I have something written.

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3.Culture

The story I mention has a black nurse as one of the main characters.As I was writing, there was this voice in my head saying terrible things. "There weren't black nurses during World War II. If there were, you would have heard of it. Even if there were, nobody wants to read a story about a black woman". I have to beat these voices with a giant stick to keep them from drowning out the actual story. Still, it really holds me back to think that by writing the story I would like to read, I am writing a story that is by nature implausible.

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Where did these voices come from? It's the racist idiots on twitter who complain about characters being black and how they suddenly become uninteresting once they find that out. It's the video producers who say black people don't sell, so they'll make another movie with a white, male, lead. It's in every microagression that I have faced.

I'm not going to put all the blame on culture for my inability to finish a novel.The first two reasons are mainly my own fault for being a procrastinator and a premature fact-checker.I will, however, blame culture for giving me so many doubts before I've written anything.

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4.Skill

I admit that I am not the world's most skilled writer.That doesn't stop me from wanting to write a novel, because it seems that you can still write a novel with faults and get your story heard.The problem with my lack of skills is that I know they are holding me back. Every time I read something about writing or take a writing course or watch a video about writing, my writing gets better. I still have a lot to work on, such as doing more detailed descriptions of the setting and integrating it into the character's actions.I am working on it, but sometimes I get impatient.

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5. The Internet

I have an internet connection AND a Word processor.Not to mention a tumblr blog. Need I say more?

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6.Life

Sometimes I'm too depressed or anxious to write. Sometimes i need to take a break. Sometimes I need to focus more on getting other things done than writing a story. It's okay that I take a break from writing, but it's still writing that's not being done.

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7.Better Writers

Have you ever seen somebody in your field of expertise do it better than you could ever dream of doing it? If you haven't, you'll find that you have if you think really hard about it.For me, when I read the works of better authors, I have this moment of doubt. Sometimes it makes me want to try and channel some of he author's mojo, and other times it makes me completely unable to enjoy what I've written.

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8.Worse Writers

Bad stories making it big is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that it gives many writers hope that even if their writing is bad, there is still hope that it will have an impact.It's also a curse in that it shows writers that there is no use in writing if crap is going to be praised more than your story.

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9.Money

Living in America is expensive. there's medication and transportation and living under a roof. It all costs money. I can't just focus on writing a story and live the romanticized life of the starving artist without literally starving.Even then, I can't write when I'm starving.So I try and think "Will this sell"? because if my story actually becomes popular, I could be making some money to pay for the medication and transportation and living under a roof.This holds me back a lot because while wanting to appeal to an audience that can get my student loans paid off, I am losing the ability to write something true. Not enough people want the truth, anyway, so I have to keep up with the market and try and make something that is appealing. That, thus, prioritizes information-gathering over producing something of quality. With my track record of getting distracted, that is an easy way to shut down the story-making process.

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10.Did I Mention Myself?

I could write a whole article about how I get in the way of myself.I'm not going to do that, because that would be even more navel-gazey as this piece.I know I seem hard on myself, but I'd rather be the one doling out the verbal abuse than anyone else that doesn't know myself as intimately as myself.As I go through life and hopefully learn to be less hard on myself, I hope to conquer the problems that hold me back.Until then, there are ten things that I can list that hold me back from writing my novel, and I wrote down that list instead of write.It's okay that there are these things holding me back. What is writing without challenge and hardships in ones own life? If there are no demons to conquer, no walls to go over, then it makes it difficult to imagine giving demons and walls for your characters to face.So, then, I have these things holding me back, or at least appear to be holding me back. I've got a lot of work to do.

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