How to Push Through Your Discomforts In Order to Write Your Book

Much like exercising can become a habit, writing can become one, too. You just have to show up. Every. Single. Day. Even when you really would rather hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off first thing in the morning or head straight home from work and lay in bed. When something’s a habit, you know the benefits of showing up even when you don’t really want to.

 

When you decide that you’re too busy or too tired to work on your novel, what you’re actually doing is avoiding discomfort. Before you even begin writing, you need to know what it is that’s keeping you from doing it now to prevent that particular fear from sneaking back into your mind.

 

If your goal is to write a book and you keep putting it off, you need to figure out why you think sitting down to write a novel is uncomfortable. Aside from the obvious answers like it’s too much work and that you don’t have enough time. Otherwise, that first morning you would rather hit the snooze button, you’re brain is going to have a really good story to tell itself to keep you from getting out of bed.

 

People never start things for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you’re  scared that if you write a novel, it will make you look smarter than your little brother. Or you’re afraid of that people will think your book is garbage. What you’re really fearing is your sibling being mad at you and your loved ones (or strangers!) judging you, which is normal.

 

To reframe those negative thoughts into positive ones in order to get you excited to write your novel, try this little activity I use in my online coaching program The 90 Day Novel: A Guide to Writing Your First Draft In 90 Days Or Less:

 

  1. Write down all the reasons why you suspect you’re afraid to get started.
  2. Once you have your reasons, write down why you might be feeling that way. Be honest. You need to dig deep here and call out your insecurities.
  3. Once you have your why, reframe your belief so that writing your novel will be awesome.

 

Here are some examples:  

 

Bad thought: If I write a novel, my brother will think I’m trying to make him look stupid.

Why: I think my brother will accuse me of making him look stupid because he dropped out of college and is having trouble finding a job. My parents are always getting on him for never trying his hardest.

Better Thought: If I write a novel, my brother will be proud of me. Pursuing my dreams could even inspire him to pursue his. If not, I am not responsible for the way he reacts to my accomplishments.

 

Bad Thought: If I write a novel, Sheila will want to read it because she’s my best friend. Sheila is a journalist. If my book sucks, she’s going to think less of me.  

Why: Sheila writes for a living, which is what I want to do. If a writer thinks I’m bad, then I don’t deserve to call myself a writer.

Better Thought: Sheila loves young adult fantasy novels, which is exactly what I’m writing. She will probably love the story because it will be written in my own unique voice and it’s such a great story. What my loved ones think of my novel matters a lot, but I have no control over how Sheila (or anyone else) feels. Not everyone is going to love what I write, but I love what I write, and I’m proud of the hard work I put into my novel.

 

Do you see a trend here? Both positive beliefs emphasis how we have NO control over how other people are going to react to our writing. This is something that we must accept and get over from the start. The great thing is, while you’re writing your first draft, nobody in the world is anxiously waiting for you to publish it yet. Even the people who tell you they can’t wait to read your book? They’re likely not pressuring you to freaking finish it already, are they?

 

Once you have all of your uncomfortable beliefs listed and reframed as positive ones, take the positive beliefs and put them somewhere where you can see them everyday. Each time a negative thought comes to mind, immediately kick it in the rear and replace it with your positive belief.

 

If these positive beliefs sound too silly to find believable, look at things from this perspective: You have spent so much time (maybe even decades) telling yourself that you aren’t good enough to do this or that. What if all of that negative self-talk is a lie, and the truth is that you really, truly are good enough for what you want? You’ve just been spending all your time living a lie to truly believe in yourself.  

 

Showing the world who you truly are is scary. There’s always going to be someone who isn’t on board with the true you, and sometimes it’s the people we love the most. But withholding yourself of your passions is a serious shame. This is why I created The 90 Day Novel course: to encourage people to tackle their inner-BS and the lies that they’ve been telling themselves in order to sit down and write the novel they’ve always dreamed of writing. We are only guaranteed one short, beautiful life. Make it count and be your best damn self.

 

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How I Outline My Stories

Outlines play a moderately critical role in the writing process for me. I like to begin a story with a blank page and just start writing what’s in my head. Then when I feel like I’ve found a storyline that’s worth running with, I’ll begin my outline. 

I’m not a strict planner when it comes to storytelling. I only outline a few chapters at a time because I know that I have the tendency to stumble upon new ideas organically as I’m writing. I don’t worry too much about organization or abiding by the outline like it’s canon. I like to let the story flow freely and getting lost in my own words is why I write. Sometimes that means I have to scrap ideas that simply don’t work anymore, even if I initially loved where the story would have gone. I think that’s a positive, though, because as an artist  I try to avoid falling too in love with my ideas. Marriage in the drafting stage is artistically limiting. Don’t get married to your work until your work has committed to you and has assured you that you’re the only writer in its life; that there is no other writer who brings out the best in it like you do. 

Okay, enough of that. Here are some shots of what my outline for A Fantastic Mess of Everything looks like. They’re messy and disorganized, but that’s how I like them. 





If you’re read A Fantastic Mess, you might notice that some things from the outline did not make it into the book (Fran never gets a dog, nor does she drop out of college), but that was originally the plan. Outlines are great tools to to use as guidance when writing, but that’s what they are to me: just helpful guides.

Do you use an outline when you write? How strict are you with it? 

Listen to the ‘Or Best Offer’ Music Playlist 

Music plays a big role in my ability to be a productive, creative person. Sometimes I like a song because it’s fun and contagious. Other times the lyrics inspire me to write exactly what I need to say. 

Here’s the official playlist for Or Best Offer, my short story that’ll be available to my newsletter subscribers for free on April 20th. 

You can listen to it on Spotify

Wow, That’s Cool! Episode #1 – Being Persistent

-Wow, that's  cool!- (2)

The first episode of my podcast catered toward working artists, “Wow, That’s Cool!” is now live on Soundcloud. In this brief episode I discuss the amazing writing schedule that I stuck to while working on my first novel A Fantastic Mess of Everything, my not-so-great writing schedule during All the Stars on Fire, and more.

 

 
 

OR BEST OFFER Cover Reveal

Stoked to *finally* reveal the cover to my upcoming short story Or Best Offer, available for free exclusively to my newsletter subscribers on April 20th, and for purchase online for a limited time beginning on May 1.

You can subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive Or Best Offer content, giveaways, and more.

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New Short Story Title Reveal

I am releasing an exclusive short story to my newsletter subscribers on April 20th titled…

 

*drumroll*

 

Or Best Offer! 

Or Best Offer is a contemporary romantic comedy about Cara, a junior in high school and a relentless boy chaser pining for her dream guy Noah. After yet another failed attempt to get Noah to ask her out, Cara reluctantly takes the night off from chasing to go on a date with a charming boy from her past. Will Cara finally learn what love is like beyond fantasy? We shall find out soon enough!

Every Friday I will be sending you new content leading up to the reveal via email, including a cover reveal, music playlists, character blogs, and so much more. This week I’m asking my subscribers to vote on a name for our male protagonist!

As of right now, I have no set plans to release Or Best Offer anywhere else, but it’ll be available to newsletter subscribers until the end of time. Click here to get in on all the fun.