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

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.

Newsletter, New Short Story & More!

Excited to announce that I’m releasing a FREE YA contemporary short story to my newsletter subscribers on April 20th! Every week leading up to the release I will be sending new content (title reveal, cover reveal, playlists, etc) so sign up now HERE
In today’s newsletter I’m revealing the title of the book three days early, and I have a fun new announcement to share. 

Hope to see you in your inbox! 

A Fantastic Mess of Everything, Now Available

Hey friends!

My book A FANTASTIC MESS OF EVERYTHING (originally titled THOROUGHLY UNMODERN here on this blog) is now available for purchase in paperback. You can buy it over at Amazon for $12.99

The Kindle version will be available on Amazon on Monday, August 15. 

Let me know if you buy it. Hope you enjoy!

Best,

Beck 

Unthoroughly Modern Excerpt 

Here is an excerpt from my upcoming novel Unthoroughly Modern. More details on it coming soon. 

A month after she met her dad, Millie had mostly returned to normal. Everyone stopped asking her if she was okay every time they saw her, and Fran chilled out on acting so motherly. It was hard enough having one overly concerned mom smothering her all the time, so two was just too much for Millie. 

 Sam didn’t tell her again that he loved her either. He must have felt really sorry for her and figured she needed to hear those words from someone–anyone–so he made himself the martyr. And then there was the kissing thing. Sam kissed her everywhere but her mouth. Forehead. Cheeks. Neck. Hands. Whenever Millie got too close to his lips, he would turn his head just enough so their mouths would fall short of touching. She tried not to let it frustrate her too much, but it was all she ever thought about. 

 “It’s getting super weird,” Mike said over breakfast in the dining hall one February morning. 

 “You need to have a talk about it,” Fran told her. 

 “I can’t.” Millie crinkled her nose. 

 Mike: “It’s an awkward conversation for sure.” 

 Millie: “He might tell me something really heartbreaking.” 

 Fran: “About him?” 

 Millie: “About me. Like maybe my breath smells. Or I’ve got bad teeth. Or my lips are too dry. Or–”

 “There isn’t anything wrong with you, Millie,” Mike interrupted her. “If a guy wants to kiss you, he’ll overlook those things.” Fran punched him in the shoulder. Mike didn’t realize what he said was bad until he said it. He looked at Millie apologetically. 

 That was what Millie dreaded the most. That Sam just didn’t want to kiss her. It didn’t make any sense. Why would he spend so much time with her if he didn’t want to be intimate? There was something mysterious festering deep within Millie that demanded physicality to keep from becoming dangerous. It was the Mr. Hide to her Dr. Jekyll. Sam gave her some of him, but she needed all of him. 

 “I’ll talk to him,” Millie said, running her fingers through her hair. Why not? She was treading far too close to the dark side to let herself fall completely. 

 “Hey, are you still a size extra small with this?” Mike asked, pointing at his own shoulders. 

 Millie clenched her face. “What does this”–she mimicked his shoulder pointing–“mean?” 

 Mike shrugged, desperately trying to phrase himself correctly. “Well, you know, now that your shoulders are bigger.”

 “My shoulders aren’t bigger.” 

 But her shoulders were bigger. She’d gained ten pounds since she began her tire flipping class, and her clothes were fitting a little more snug. Her shirts fit tighter and would make weird ripping sounds whenever she leaned forward or tried to take them off. And jeans…She’d stopped wearing jeans entirely. 

 “They’re not like huge or anything,” Mike added. “You can just tell you’re strong.” 

 Millie made sure her shoulders were covered by her cardigan. “I guess I’m not totally an extra small anymore.” 

 “You look awesome,” Fran nodded. It was easy for her to say. She was Audrey Hepburn thin. 

 “You do,” Mike said. “If I was some creep I’d worry you’d be the one to attack me.” 

***

On the first night that Millie stayed in her dorm room with Ophelia sleeping in Fran’s old bed, she got very little rest. The second time she stayed awake for awhile but eventually dosed off. By the third night she was sleeping more than half the night. She just thought so much about the person on the other side of the room, being very aware of Ophelia’s existence from the way she breathed in heavily and exhaled through her mouth while she slept, to the way that she seemed to switch positions every thirty minutes. 

 Millie didn’t really act this way with Fran on the count that Fran was such a silent sleeper. She didn’t move or make a sound. If Ophelia had been a silent sleeper, then Millie wouldn’t be so obsessed with listening in agony as Ophelia tossed and turned throughout the night. 

 And Millie didn’t have a problem with Ophelia. Ophelia was a nice girl. She was always trying to hang out with Millie, inviting her to this vegan place called Cafe Veinticinco every time they would cross paths in their room, which Millie ensured didn’t happen very often. Millie just didn’t want to live with anyone. Maybe she would live with Sam, but they didn’t even kiss. Living with him would be like having a platonic roommate that you spooned every night. 

Millie’s morning class had been canceled, so she stayed in her room to read a book for her Unconventional Fiction class.

After an hour of reading, she set her book on her bed. She took out a can of furniture spray from the closet and cleaned off her dusty desk. She thought it might be nice of her to clean Ophelia’s desk, too, so she removed Ophelia’s only desktop belongings (her laptop, an empty fruit bowl and like seventeen crystals), wiped the desk clean, then put everything back. She even sort of wiped the crystals down so they were shiny.  

Ophelia walked in with a recyclable grocery bag. “Hey girl,” Ophelia smiled at Millie and placed the bag on her desk, pulling out two clear bottles of organic shampoo and conditioner. She was breathing heavy, a sign that she walked to the farmer’s market a mile away from campus. Everything was a mile away from campus. 

 “Hi,” Millie said and went back to reading. 

 Ophelia was silent for a minute, taking out all of her market finds, when Millie heard her ask, “Did you touch my crystals?”

 Millie looked up from her book. “Um…”

 “They’re facing away from the window.” 

 “Because I wiped your desk.”

 “With what?”

 Millie shrugged. The book moved with her shoulders. “Furniture spray.”

 “You put chemicals on my desk?” 

 “Your desk has had chemicals on it before,” Millie said, getting defensive. “A few more chemicals won’t hurt it.” 

 Ophelia held her hands up in disbelief. “My crystals are facing away from the window.” She took a deep breath. “And that’s bad luck, child.”

 “One, I’m not a child, I’m a year older than you, and two, you can make it all better by facing them toward the window again.”

 “How long have they been like this?”

 “Twenty minutes or so.” 

 Ophelia screamed. She shuffled all the crystals so they faced the window once more, then she turned to face Millie. “Don’t touch anything on my desk again. I can buy something to clean it with. Open the window.” She walked over to the tiny window and opened it, putting a little force into pushing it up. “To get the chemicals out. Our lungs deserve more love than that.”

 “My lungs get plenty of love, thanks.” Millie went back to her book. 

 “Doesn’t it bother you that you’re breathing in deadly toxins?”

 Millie kept reading. “Not really.” 

 “I’m bothered for you,” Ophelia walked back to her desk. She said some things about how awful it was that we were still using chemicals to clean our homes (they should be treated like temples) and called Millie a child again when there was a knock at the door. 

 Ophelia, still talking to herself, went to the door and opened it. Sam was standing outside with his hands behind his back. He smiled at Ophelia. “Ophelia,” he said. 

 “Hey, boo boo,” Ophelia said with distress in her voice. She turned around and headed for her bed. 

 Sam walked in, looking at Millie sitting quietly on her bed, and Ophelia frantically trying to gather her things to get far away from their toxic space. “Did something happen?” Sam asked cautiously. 

 “Millie cleaned my desk with furniture spray.” Sam raised his brows. “And she faced my crystals toward the wall.” 

  Sam gasped. “Millie, how could you?” 

 Millie threw her hands up. “How was I supposed to know?” 

 “It’s bad luck.” Millie rolled her eyes. Sam sat down at the foot of her bed. 

 “I’ll be out for the rest of the afternoon,” Ophelia said, swinging a tote bag over her shoulder. “That imposter smell of lemon should be gone by the time I get back.” 

 “Stay safe, Ophelia,” Sam said. 

 “Thank you, boo boo.” Ophelia shut the door behind her. 

 Sam turned back to Millie. He tapped her foot with a pointed finger. “Do you know what this weekend is, particularly this Sunday? It’s a very big day.”

 Millie thought about it. “February fourteenth?”

 “Which is…”

 “Valentine’s Day.”

 “Precisely.” Sam held up his index finger. “But this weekend is a very special weekend. Because not only is it Valentine’s Day, it’s also someone’s half birthday.” 

 Millie furrowed her brows. 

 “It’s yours,” Sam smiled. He was talking like a commander giving an inspirational speech just before battle. “There’s more. I got to thinking about the awesome things we could do on your Valentine’s Day/half birthday weekend, when I realized that we’ve been together for two months now and we haven’t even had a proper date since North by Northwest. Where I take you out and pay for everything.” 

 Millie didn’t say anything. She just listened, so Sam continued, “So then I got to thinking about what great things we could do for Valentine’s Day/your half birthday/our second real date.” He titled his head to the side after he listed off each event. “And I got an idea.” 

 “What are you thinking?”

 Sam’s mouth grew wide. “Dinner and a movie.” 

 “We did that last time.”

 “Exactly.” Sam placed his hand on hers. “And I want to do it again.”

 “So dinner and a movie for Valentine’s Day/my half birthday/our second date?”

 “That’s just Friday. On Saturday I want us to go camping at Pyramid Lake.” 

 Millie lowered her chin. What was he thinking? “In a tent? With like, bears and snakes?”

 “In a tent with nothing to be too concerned about. The bears and snakes will be outside.” 

 “Um, okay. Let’s do it.” Millie nodded enthusiastically.  

 Sam smiled. “Great,” he said, his smile fading as he looked into Millie’s eyes. He leaned forward, his curvy lips going into a pout. This was it. It was finally happening. They were going to kiss, and it was going to be awesome. Millie leaned in closer, and shut her eyes. Then she felt a quick gush of air blow in her face. She opened her eyes. Sam was staring at her attentively, but his focus was on something below her eye. “You’ve got an eyelash that won’t come off.” He wiped it away with his finger, then gave Millie one nod of accomplishment.

 Seriously?