Overcome Beginner’s Anxiety

Part One

How to Complete a Novel

There is something you want to do. It is a big something. The sort of something that will imbue your daily life with new meaning, vigor and purpose… if you could get started!

Perhaps you want to write a novel, landscape your yard, or learn to read Sanskrit. Any one of those things is daunting. In fact, accomplishing such a goal will probably be more work than you expect, even in your worst case scenario. The good news is you won’t be able to quantify that until you are looking back in well-earned retrospect. The bad news is that the amorphous and seemingly inexhaustible amount of work you can see clearly from the outset is enough to induce panic, or at least drive you to put off starting until that magical, perfect time when everything is in alignment. Do you know what is universally true about magical, perfect times?  They don’t exist! Stop waiting for “until” or “after” or “when” to arrive, and start your project now. If your goal is a novel, there’s no better month to ramp up than November, the National Novel Writing Month. Even though I have never participated in NaNoWriMo, I love the energy it generates in the writing community. Energy, drive, passion: if you have these, you have what it takes to get started on that life-changing something!

If you’re inspired, yet uncertain where to start, I have eleven suggestions that have helped me complete (and survive!) large-scale projects. Since I am a writer, the examples associated with each tip will focus on completing a novel. However, the same suggestions can be applied to any sort of project. I’ve used this approach in my writing, in developing software, in figuring out my work-life-write balance, and most recently in beginning a big landscaping project in my yard.

Here is the first of eleven suggestions:

Know What You Want

To strengthen your commitment to writing a novel, visualize the outcome you would like to achieve. Picture typing ‘THE END’ on the first draft of your manuscript. Imagine how it will feel to have someone you respect read your novel. Think of going to Amazon and seeing your book on the virtual shelf.  Add as much detail as you can, especially regarding the positive mental state your accomplishment will induce in you. You will return to this picture often in the weeks and months to come. The more vivid and convincing your visualization, the more inspiration you will be able to draw from it.

Now is all we have – so use it!

Check back soon for more ‘How to Complete a Novel’ posts!

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