The Great American Novel

Every year, thousands of people embark on writing the Great American Novel. There are some who succeed at creating a work that is truly breathtaking. Others write something worth reading that is more good than great. The majority of these people fail to follow through on even the most basic aspect of their goal: actually writing the novel no matter how good it is. We all know that talk is cheap, but I'm here to get you your money's worth. If you want to write the Great American Novel, your first goal should be to finish the dang thing.

Too many writers give up before they even start. They've got the great idea, sure, but they aren't willing to put any time or energy into that effort. They think the idea will write itself, which in most cases is far from true. When you get excited about an idea, it's easy to write for a few days. After that, unless you have a detailed plan of action, you're running on will power. And will power, doesn't last all that long.

Instead of using your willpower to write, use it to create a daily routine and a detailed plan of action. Come up with some powerful and positive goals to spur you on when the willpower runs dry. Figure out how best to motivate yourself in the most effective way in the morning, afternoon and evening. Once you have gotten into a routine of this kind, you will be able to make yourself write every or almost every day on your masterpiece.

I recommend that you write every day because it's much to easy to put off your Great American Novel for things that appear more urgent. As Stephen Covey teaches us with his four quadrant theory, working on the parts of your life that are important but are far from urgent will help you grow. Not only that, but working on them tends to make you more fulfilled. It may feel good at the time to play your video games or to stay out all night, but do you get any sort of deeper fulfillment out of it? Writing for me is like a spiritual experience. By writing every single day, it becomes something of a ritual for me. No matter what else I do in my day, I know that for that hour or two, I've done something that connects me with my purpose. If you only write when you're "inspired," that leaves a lot of purposeless hours that could be better spent.

I think it's awesome if you have a goal to write the Great American Novel. I just think on your way to that goal, you should actually write a novel. You need the scheduling, motivation and purpose to get you from page one to the end. Many authors struggle with their first few novels, but after making it a reality with these steps, the path can become much easier to navigate.

Done with The Great American Novel? Go back to Creative Writing Tips.

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