Overcoming Your Self-Doubt So You Can Finally Write Your Novel

self doubt 2Let’s face it.

We’ve all had our share of self doubts when it comes to doing something we’ve never done before. Especially when it comes to writing.

Geez, I’ve written four books and I still have my doubts.

But I have found ways to overcome them and in this post I’m going to tell you how.

What self-doubt I face constantly even after 4 books written

-Is this any good?

-What if I could have written this better?

-What if I disappoint my readers?

-Does this part even makes sense/ will my readers understand this?

If you’ve asked yourself similar questions like this than me and you might be in the same boat. But the truth is, these doubts when I write never goes away. The only way to push them to the back of my mind is to focus on other things that are more important.

What I focus on most to keep me going

-Satisfying my die-hard readers

– Getting this story out of me regardless of my negative thoughts.

-My writing can only get better

-I remember how bad I want this

-I tell myself there’s no pressure and to just do my thing

If you focus more on the positives and less on the negatives, your mind will be filled with more affirmations instead of hesitations.

self doubtWhat you need to have in order to succeed as a writer

-Tough skin

-Positive attitude

-Motivation

-An end goal

-Determination

Think about all the things that make you do something even though you doubt yourself. If you really want to do something and if you really want to finish what you’ve started, you have to let go and take a risk.

Trust me, finishing a novel is something everyone wants to do, but not what everyone does.

Thanks for reading,

Shaquanda

5 Traits and Skills You Should Build Before Starting Your Novel

skillsEveryone should have a good mindset going on before starting a novel. It’s a tough world out there and once people, strangers, start looking at your work, not all of them are going to say good things. Not to mention the hard work it takes just to write the novel in the first place.

So here are a list of traits and skills I believe you should have before you start to write your book:

1. Patience

Before you write your book there is something you should know: you may have to start over. From stretch or hopefully if you’re lucky just  a whole section. Out of the four books I’ve written, I’ve always had to start over, rewrite a scene or in some way delete a bunch of words I wrote to start over again.

But it wasn’t because I made a mistake. I did it to make my story better. Sometimes I would lead my characters in a direction that I would later change my mind about them going down that path. So you might change your mind too. The main thing to remember is to be patience and to keep writing until you know you got it the way you envisioned it to be.

2. Discipline

Showing up everyday to add words to your story takes a lot more effort than you might think. As a writer, you will not want to write every day. One day you might rather sleep in or go to a movie or hang out with friends. It’s not that you don’t like writing, but maybe you don’t feel like doing it right now.

This is okay sometimes but it takes discipline to come back to your work and to keep showing up. Give yourself a goal and a rule and keep your standards. Make it up in your mind to write something, even a sentence, everyday no matter what so that you can start building and maintaining  the discipline you’ll need to write the entire novel which may take months.

3. Open-mindedness

Be open to new ideas, new possibilities, and changes. You may have an idea of how your story is going to go scene by scene but don’t block out any new ideas that my pop inside your head in the wee hours of the night. It may be your muse trying to tell you something.

4. Focusing

Facebook. Twitter. That game you love. Your cell phone. Your friends. All of these are great and all of these I love but it’s hard to concentrate on two things at one time. Maintain your focus on your writing if you’re going to sit down and write. You don’t have to write for 8 hours but every moment you dedicate to writing should be used solely for writing or else time is going to fly by and you’re look at your screen and see a blank page.

5. Tough Skin

Number 1 touched on this a bit because it’s true that not everyone will like your work no matter who good it is. You, however, are going to need a tough skin to be able to take criticism from your peers, strangers, or even from people you love.  It may take some getting used to but you have to remember that as long as you’re good with you, you don’t have to please the world.

I don’t mean ignore everyone who wants to give you constructive advice because you don’t like it but it’s important to know the difference between a critic helping you out and a critic putting you down.

 

Okay, I hope these help prepare you for writing your novel. Good luck! Ask any questions you have below.

Using Choices To Define Your Characters and Move Your Story Forward

choice 1Choices help define who we are. What we do in our lives gives off to other people what kind of person we are. And if life we can choose to make good choices, bad choices, hard choices or easy choices. If you, or someone you know, has a lot of easy choices to make in life and nothing else to worry about, that friend may be perceived to have an easy life.

So how can you use choices in the lives of your characters?

When your characters are forced to make choices, it moves the story forward. Choices makes your character decide to start their journey…or not. They’re have a choice whether to make a difference in their world or lives…or not.

There’s nothing wrong with your characters being hesitant to take on their destiny or mission at first but, of course, if they never say yes then you don’t have a story.

Forcing your character to choose their destiny moves the story forward and you won’t find yourself fiddling around in their world figuring out how to move things along.

Your characters choose to eat the specific types of food they eat and the way they look are a result of this. This is an example of how choices shape how our characters are physically defined.

Can you think of ways that choices shape their personality? What if they choose not to do their homework? Or if they choose to always clean up their house without being asked?

choice 2By presenting your characters with a question, you are immediately creating a way to show your character’s personality and a chance to get you and your characters out of a creative rut.

How do you use choices in your novel? Have you ever read a novel that forced the characters to make a hard decision? Love you hear from you.

How To Create Edgy Characters That Will Rock Your Novel

7059769-delighted-female-leaping-over-rocky-cliff-in-excitementWhat does it mean to be edgy anyway?

Is it your spunk? It is the sass? Is the fact that you’re just different and so interesting that people can’t help but want to get to know you or just listen to what you say?

Possibly.

But the main thing we can agree on is that edgy is not boring. Edgy is deep. It’s what makes us 3D.

So how do you add edge to your characters? How do you make them edgy, cool and interesting so reading will be hooked?

1. Make them break the rules

a goody two shoes character is not edgy. have them be tempted by something or someone to make them contemplate breaking the rules of society.

It’s natural for humans to want to give into their urges and it’s unrealistic to think that someone can resist them easily with no problem. Let us see your character struggle.  Let us see them break the rules, it will be so badass.

2. Give them a secret no one knows about

It doesn’t have to be a big secret like having superpowers  or an underground intelligence lab but having a little quirky feature about them makes them more deep and realistic. I’m not saying every real life person has a secret although they probably do but having making your character keep one makes them more 3D for your reader.

3. Talents

What is your character better at then anyone else? What gives them the edge? For Katniss Evergreen from the Hunger Games it was her talent with the bow and arrow. For Harry Potter it was his wand and wits.

Those things made them edgy and cool. It makes the reader believe the characters can handle themselves and isn’t a pushover.

4. Unique

This ties in with point 3 in the fact that you don’t want your edgy characters to be an ordinary character with no unique thing about them that may stick out with your readers. How about a unique eye color or the way the character carry him/herself? What’s their style? What about them that your readers can say your character reminds them of someone in real life that they know?

5340079-man-in-hiking-boots-standing-on-edge-of-a-cliff-in-grand-canyon-arizona5. Give them an advantage

How can you have an edgy characters that doesn’t have an edge over their opponent? It doesn’t have to be a skill that gives them the upper hand like in number 3, it can manpower, or knowledge that makes them victorious. I think it’s something to think about. How are your characters going to win their battle? because it always doesn’t come down to luck.

I hope these five things helps you out in turning your characters into characters with edge. What do you do for your characters that makes them unique and gives them the edge?

How Not To Fall In A Creative Rut

Hello to you,

Happy 2014!

My goals for this year is simple, more books, more readers, and me being more productive.  Similar to last years.

So let’s kick off this year with a blog post about creativity! [Read more…]

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