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.

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About the Author

Shaquanda Dalton

Hello, my name is Shaquanda Dalton and welcome to Learnasyouwrite.com! I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graudated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Creative Writing. I fell in love with writing at the age nine and love it till this day. :)

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