There are many challenges writers face. Some of them are insignificant, some of them are daunting and some of these so much so it throws the writer off their novel completely. Yet, there is one in particular that all writers need to face, a challenge that will test them and their love for their novel.
Let’s jump into it!
The problem is lack of patience.
A writer needs to spend significant time on their novel, time which slowly degrades ones interest in writing the novel. Other ideas gather, or frustration builds, or the writer simply doesn’t feel like writing that particular story anymore. The writer longs to write something else, or perhaps this lengthy process has turned them off writing. There are many examples of this happening to even the most professional author, so the chances are good that you have experienced it as well.
In my opinion, this is an understandable problem. Writing a novel not only takes time, but it challenges the writer. It challenges their imagination, their consistent writing. The writer will be presented with their own bad writing or perhaps they will hit a dead-end they have difficulty in overcoming.
I have often found myself hitting such a point in writing my novels, usually due to my interest changing. I could be writing a young adult fantasy novel, several chapters into the story and enjoying myself, but then my heart and mind wish to write something science-fiction or thriller-ish. It’s a common enough problem with me, but upon further research, there are many excuses that writers use like mine to show their lack of patience in writing their novel.
Some prefer to take breaks, lengthy and enjoyable, but by the end of it, they struggle to get back into the flow of writing. It is an abandoned mindset after all, so it makes sense that they have trouble getting out of holiday-mode. It can go even further, to the point that the writer abandons their progress in favour of a fresh start. Weeks-to-months of progress lost on a whim.
The problem comes from a lack of patience.
Writing a novel is much like a relationship. It takes time, heart-felt thought and love for it to persevere and grow. There will be difficulties along the way, problems with either the writer or the story, perhaps both, but with careful writing and revising, the story can strengthen with the writer. Patience found and the writing continues.
Leaving this analogy behind, I would like to say that this won’t always be the case. There are novels that we write which simply don’t work out. Perhaps you find yourself not enjoying the idea or even the genre as much as you thought. You need to ask yourself if you are truly invested in your story right at the beginning through the first chapters if you are truly dedicated enough to completing it. Chances are that you will be if this idea excites you enough to write it, but there is still a chance that you might be wasting your time on something you don’t enjoy.
It will help you analyse and overcome problems. It will help you pace your writing, as well as your story. It develops your skills as a writer and as such it develops your story as well. It doesn’t simply come down to taking your time with the writing process, but it also comes down to your dedication and willingness to problem-solve. How you handle problems such as plot holes and deadends says a lot about your chances in finishing your novel.
With the problem established, the question of the solution arises, along with many other questions.
What needs to change? What needs to be improved? How does one go about becoming more patient if one feels their story is worth it?
Patience in the writing process is essential, but it is often tested. If not by time, then by the challenges one faces. Luckily, there are many solutions to re-ignite that creative fire, that interest in your idea, that passion for writing.
Let’s start with the first solution, as it is one of the easiest ways one can tackle the problem. Rediscover what gave you that idea, that interest, that desire to write the story you are writing. Often what inspires us is a piece of media or a special part of our lives. If it is possible to experience it again, say watch the movie, read the book or study the art piece that inspired you, then do so.
It can be almost anything that gives you inspiration. Find it once more, experience it, revel in it and you will find the answer to a dead-end comes naturally, the will to continue the story returns. You have found that inspiration once more, in some form. With that inspiration comes the patience to endure the challenges to follow.
Of course, if what inspired you, in the beginning, is a rare occurrence, or perhaps once-in-a-lifetime, then taking some time, such as an afternoon to a day or two, to dwell on those memories. Think about the small things leading up to the event, reimagine it if need be. Powerful memories that inspire a novel have powerful emotions tied to them, so don’t think that once it is in the past it cannot affect you in some way. The time spent on these memories will surely give you the patience and inspiration you need.
That is one solution to the problem you are experiencing. In my case, it has always been the best. Yet, that does not mean it will be the best for you, that is why I have two more solutions that have helped the process.
The second solution is to study. Taking another day or two to study the genre, the theme you are working with will help you better understand your novel as well. Challenges met with knowledge and experience are easily defeated, helping lend some confidence to your writing and with it some patience to persevere.
Often, when writing a complex scene or an emotional scene, a writer needs time to find just the right words to convey their thoughts and ideas. Looking at other examples helps, especially if you can find one similar to your own. You don’t need to copy someone else’s scene from their novel to get yours just right, but reading their scene might help you better understand what needs to be said to give the right effect.
Finally, the third solution is to throw caution to the wind. Sometimes, it is the writer who tests their own patience. Be it a perfectionist nature or desire to write more speedily, a writer often finds themself dwelling on a scene or chapter far too long. Thus, the writer believes that since their progress isn’t as expected, their desire to continue begins to dwindle.
That is why the final solution is to write without caution. Mistakes will be made, some worse than others, but a story is put on paper. It is far easier to edit than it is to write a novel, which is why once the novel is complete a writer can rest easy. The writer can take their time with each chapter, even with each paragraph, calm in the knowledge that the book is done. It may be rough around the edges, but with a few cuts here and there, it will be a shining diamond to be proud of.
I have learnt from many of my students that inspiration is often lacking before they even reach the midpoint in their novel. It comes down to simply losing patience for writing their novel. Patience could have faded due to the change of interest or simply the struggle of meeting the goals they had in mind. It was easy for me to see the pattern, thus, easy to see the clear problem we writers face.
That is why I believe these three solutions will help any writer find their patience again and overcome this difficult challenge. Writing a novel, I have compared to a relationship before, but can also be compared to a battle. It is one's willingness to fight that will decide the outcome of the fight. Dedication is the quality of your commitment to a task, perseverance is working at it despite the difficulty.
If your dedication begins to dwindle, you can rely on perseverance; develop patience.
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Thank you for reading!
Matthew Dewey, Writer
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