Help! Writing a Novel Takes Too Long!!


Procrastinating takes too long.

Pausing and rewriting your story every time you get a line or even a paragraph done is time consuming. Not only that though, editing as you write wastes time. Don’t believe me?

Think about it.

Say you start writing a novel one Friday morning.

You sprint and write several thousand words, then you stop, save the document, and go about the rest of the day. The next morning you wake up, bright and early to work on your novel again. You sit down at your desk and reread what you wrote yesterday.

“IT’S HORRIBLE!” You think. “This is just TRASH!”

And so you delete it all and start over, rewriting the scene dozens of times before you finally get it finished. By the time you’re finished rewriting, you realize hours have passed, and you don’t have any time left to advance the story in.

So? Big deal, right? You perfected your first page or two…why does it matter if it took you way longer than you expected it too? That’s what you’re thinking until you begin chapter two. Then, as you begin writing you realize that the first few pages you wrote originally were correct…and you wasted all that time rewriting them, when you could’ve just left it.

Now this won’t always happen.

You won’t always run into situations where you’re mentally kicking yourself for deleting and rewriting a piece, but it DOES happen. Fact of the matter is, you, as an author, won’t completely know what parts of your novel you’ll have to scrap or expand on, until you finally pen the words, ‘the end’.

My point?

It’s usually best to wait until you’ve finished your first draft to begin editing, because not only does rewriting and editing take you, as the author, out of the flow of the story, but it also might create problems you originally didn’t have.

Now, what about the other reason novels take forever to write aka PROCRASTINATION. It’s easy to procrastinate, especially when it comes to tasks that we don’t want to do. Whether it’s cleaning the kitchen or vacuuming the basement, somehow, we always manage to find other things to do, instead of just getting out the vacuum or filling the dishpan with writing.

Thus, it’s not unusual to procrastinate writing too.

BUT dreading writing every single day is not normal. I wrote a post on this about ‘writer’s blocks’ and gave some advice to prevent those scenarios, and that’s pretty much the same here. The key to staying motivated in your writing is to not give yourself a chance to procrastinate.

It’s sitting down at your desk, cup of coffee steaming next to you, as you put your fingers on the keyboard. It’s deciding to put down your phone and stop scrolling social media and instead get words on the page. Or to put it simply…it’s determination and discipline.

Quite frankly, discipline sucks.

It’s much easier to lounge on the couch, watching your favorite television show as opposed to getting your creative juices flowing and actually putting in the effort to write your novel. In the end though, your consistency writes your novel, not your motivation.

Besides, when you think about it, writing one thousand words a day is much less intimidating than writing five-thousand words in one sitting, because you’re behind schedule and feeling bad about it. It’s very satisfying to watch your word-count go up, and the best way for that to happen is to stick to writing at least a few hundred words a day.

That said, one of the best ways to fight procrastination is to simply not give yourself a chance to get distracted and do something else. Also, setting a deadline and saying you have a certain amount of words to write every day will limit your ability to rewrite when you’re supposed to be writing.

Rewriting and editing does have a place…just finish writing first before you begin any major changes!







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