steve-johnson-548313-unsplash crumpled paper

In March, I posed a question to my newsletter subscribers, “What is your biggest writing struggle?” I received quite a few responses and will continue to answer them in upcoming “Writing Tips” blog posts.

Reader Question: My biggest struggle with writing right now is getting motivated! How do you motivate yourself to sit down and write something you aren't feeling confident about?

I understand your struggle. When we start out, we feel unsure of our writing abilities. Characters, plot, point of view, and setting – so many pieces of the puzzle that need to fit together. Writing a story seems daunting, if not impossible.

I suggest not looking so far in the future but just one day at a time. Try to write for yourself - like it's not for anyone else's eyes. It will help take the stress off you to make it perfect. The first draft (or second, or third...) doesn't have to be great. Just focus on getting the story out of your head and onto paper or into a Word document. Tweaking comes later. For now, just write.

And remember, be easy on yourself. (I've read your writing and it's darn good!) To be honest, the first several drafts of my novel were terrible. At one point I stopped writing for almost two years. In fact, I almost gave up because I didn’t have much confidence in myself. During that non-writing time, I read A LOT. Books in my genre and in other genres. I wanted to see how other writers developed characters. How they made a story work from start to finish. How they wove in side stories and keep the reader engaged.

And that's when I had my breakthrough. By reading novels like the one I was trying to write, it helped me work my way through my own story. Then I showed my work to a critique group – several writers who I trusted to be honest but to also be kind because tough love doesn’t work for me. I needed encouragement along with suggestions – where to cut scenes. Where I repeated the same word, or phrase, multiple times. Where things didn’t make sense.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. For now. Just write. Don’t let that critical voice be louder than your creative voice. I know it’s not easy. But, it’s worth it.

If you have a writing struggle, feel free to contact me. I’ll post my responses and suggestions in future blog posts.