Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Ways to Not Lose Your Mind When Writing a Novel

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. One can begin the journey with vigor and enthusiasm and still end up incredibly overwhelmed. Whenever I sit before my computer to begin a novel, I am filled with joy and excitement.

 Just imagining the characters that I will create, and the worlds that they will inhabit makes me giddy. Pages get filled with wondrous prose and complex plots. Chapters are produced and the novel starts to take shape. 

Then...the nerves set in. I start to fear opening the document and pressing forward. One might begin to doubt whether all of those pages are utter dribble. I know that for me I get to a point in the story where I feel such anxiety that I will start a new story...just to reclaim that initial enthusiasm and hope.

What if no one else thinks the story is as clever as you believe? What if your imagination runs dry before you actually finish the story? These thoughts plague many of my fellow writers, but one must push forward. No matter what. 

Here are ten ways to not lose your mind when writing a novel. 

I hope this helps.

  1. Read what you've already written. Sometimes this can help you reclaim that vigor and excitement. You've worked hard to put those words on the page. Don't let them go to waste. Just try not to start editing just yet. Wait until the story is complete.
  2. Take a walk and sort through your thoughts. Imagine your characters and let them take the reigns of your thoughts. Sometimes it can play out like a movie inside your mind, and the characters inevitably take over. I bet you'll be running back home to write out what you've imagined. There's something about fresh air and nature that always clears the mind.
  3. Create a jot list. A jot list is a form of graphic organizer where an individual writes down a list of information that will help them write an essay, article, story, etc. This will help you sort out your thoughts and remind your mind of what parts of the story excite you, prompting you to press forward.
  4. Download the software Y Writer 5. You won't believe how helpful this software is. It is a word processor that breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you keep track of your work while leaving your mind free to create. Trust me, being organized is a life saver when you are writing a novel.
  5.  Listen to soft music in the background, light candles or incense, or anything that relaxes you during your writing session. Sometimes this can transport your mind and open it up to more creativity. I also like to get a massage here and there to help with the stress and the inevitable strain on my wrists from typing so much and sitting at a desk all day. It's not for everyone, but it definitely helps me out.