Musings of a Pantser!
Many times people ask me how to go about writing a novel. Some look at writing as such a daunting task. They think of outlining, plot structure, and word counts then instantly balk. “I can’t write 80k words!”
The thing is, you can do it. It doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to relax and not focus on the end result. That’s the single biggest thing that stops a new writer from finishing a story.
Back when I started writing Immortalis Carpe Noctem, I let that kind of stuff haunt me too. I felt I had to plot everything out. I worried if my chapters would be long enough and if I could really ever hit that magical word count to qualify as a novel.
It took me 5 years to finish Immortalis. Yeah, that is a long time, I know. But first novels can take a long time.
My problem was, I kept forcing myself into the little box of plotting out everything down to the smallest detail and then hating where the story went. I would try to force a chapter past its point, adding in too much unnecessary detail, because I felt each chapter needed to be a specific length.
Eventually, I set the manuscript aside, frustrated with it.
While I let that one settle, I allowed myself to “free write,” not caring if the story made sense or if it was ever going to be read by anyone.
You know what I found out?
The muse doesn’t like to be boxed in. At least mine doesn’t.
Some authors need that structure and that is great for them. Me, I needed freedom. And I’m willing to bet a lot of others need it too.
Once I realized that, I went back and finished Immortalis Carpe Noctem in a short time and started the crit and revision process. It was that “relaxing” and allowing my muse to speak without worry that helped me to finish my story.
So now, whenever I see a new writer saying, “Oh, I can’t write. It’s too hard.” I tell them the same thing. Just relax. Don’t worry about the end result. Get your story on paper the way you want it. After that, you can worry about “fixing” things. If you can’t get past the initial draft, you will never finish it and make your self frustrated.