Getting Started 2: I don’t have the talent to write a fantasy novel

In my last blog, I discussed one of the biggest obstacles to writing that novel you always wanted to write — finding [or allocating] the time to do it.

The second obstacle to Getting Started on Your Fantasy Novel that I want to deal with is self-doubt!

I’m not good enough to do that or I really want to write a fantasy novel but I just don’t have the talent to do it. Do these thoughts sound familiar?

NewsFlash: We all have them – or have had them!

Here’s just one of thousands of examples, from Paul Tremblay, whose book, A Head Full of Ghosts, won the 2015 This Is Horror Novel of the Year:

“I struggle with self-doubt every time I sit down to write. Its severity fluctuates, but it’s always there, and some level of it should be there, frankly. I think it’s healthy. I’d be more worried about myself if I thought that when I sat down manna was about to pour out of my fingers (eww… and that would be messy, wouldn’t it?). Every writer is different but doubt, at times, drives me, and makes me want to get better.”

https://litreactor.com/columns/dealing-with-self-doubt-tips-from-7-popular-authors

Interesting! Paul, an accomplished author, still has doubts. More than that, rather than finding them a hindrance, Paul seems to embrace them. He uses them. They help him strive to keep on improving.

But what’s the worst that could happen anyway? You write that novel, you give it your best shot, and no one likes it.

If that’s the worst that could happen, you will still have achieved one very important thing. You will have scratched that itch. You will have written your very own fantasy novel!

Hopefully, if that is what happens, you won’t then just give up. Hopefully, you will learn from that first experience and sit down and write another one — only better this time.

“Agatha Christie completed her first manuscript at the age of 22. She submitted to many publishers only to receive a stream of rejections. She sought the advice of a family friend writer Eden Philpots who introduced her to his own literary agent who rejected the manuscript but suggested she write a second novel. Agatha Christie’s first novel was never published. Her second novel was also repeatedly rejected before being finally published on the agreement that she change the ending. Agatha Christie went on to have a prolific career writing 72 novels and 15 short-story collections.”

Source: wildmindcreative.com

But what about the potential positive outcomes?

Putting aside the prospect that what you write might be a masterpiece and you might become as rich as J. K. Rowling [Or even richer. Hey, if you’re going to dream then dream big. After all, it’s your dream!], what if you’re simply really happy with the result?

You spend months reviewing and polishing the completed work and either find a traditional publisher or decide to go down the indie publishing path. Your book gets printed and your first published copy arrives in the mail.

As someone who has been there, I can tell you — that is a great feeling! The sense of accomplishment when you get to that point is pretty intense.

“The moment I held my book in my hands—my actual work, in physical form, in my hands, was indescribable. (Is that a word? Oh well.) I had to pick up my books at the bookstore, and the bookseller handed me a copy and I swear I felt tears well up in my eyes. All of your hard work, abstract concepts, words on a page—now made concrete. It’s amazing.

Publish your book. Whether you feel it needs more work or it isn’t long enough or it’s not good enough, publish it anyway. Even if you only have author’s copies. You can always tweak it later. But the feeling of accomplishing it is beyond compare.” 

Alison Moxley, quora.com

I asked the question above: What’s the worst that could happen? You write that novel, you give it your best shot, and no one likes it.

That’s not the worst that could happen. The worst that could happen is that you have this dream, this urge, call it what you will, to write a fantasy novel, or any other genre for that matter, and you never give it a go!

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”

J. K. Rowling

So, get to it. Start writing. Take the risk. Follow your dream. The rewards will be worth it.

_______

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Click on this link if you want to access a list of all of my Writing Tips posts in one place.

Click here if you want to go to my Home Page. I will be publishing a new fantasy series in April 2019 and you can find more information about that on my website. You can also download a FREE PDF of the first two chapters right now without having to wait for the books to be published.

Writing Tips for Fantasy [and other] Authors

Hello, and welcome to my Writing Tips for Fantasy [and other] Authors. This is the first in a series of blogs I will be posting focusing on helping those who want to turn their desire to put down their stories on paper into a reality.

My hope is that these posts will help others find their way along the exciting path that takes one from being a writer to being an author. As with any worthy goal, the journey there can, at times, seem an arduous one, beset with doubts, pitfalls and innumerable other barriers. Just getting started is probably one of the biggest hurdles of all.

I’ll deal with all of these obstacles, and much more besides, in the posts to follow. The first bit of good news is that none of the obstacles are insurmountable, however daunting they may at first seem. The second bit of good news is that the feeling of achievement and satisfaction once you get there is, I can guarantee you, well worth the effort.

Hopefully, just the fact that you are reading this post shows that you have begun to take your first steps along that path. Well done! Keep going.

Before I go any further, I should start off by making it clear that I don’t lay claim to being any more of an expert in these matters than anyone else. For my undergraduate degree, I majored in English, Latin and Classics [the classical world, that is, not the works of Jane Austen and co]. I’ve written and published a high fantasy novel. Before I retired, I had a long career in the public sector which required me to produce lengthy, high-quality, written work on an ongoing basis. But I know that many others have similar if not vastly more impressive credentials.

The thing is, in my experience, some of the best advice I’ve ever received has been suggestions that I’d already heard, or had seen before, but which I hadn’t previously embraced. It seems that, for many, if not most of us, it is not what is said, but how and when, that determines how well we absorb it. We often have to hear it at just the right time, or in just the right way, to ‘get it’.

Perhaps, it’s more the case that when we are absorbing a very large amount of information or advice, our subconscious files some of the overflow away in a safe place until something happens to bring it back to the forefront of our mind, or until we are ready to pay heed to it or give it proper consideration.

One thing is certain. We are all different, and the kind of advice which resonates with some people will differ from what resonates with others. Hopefully, what I have to say will hit the right note for you.

Having put all those qualifications on the table up front, I hope you find my posts in some way useful. If you do, or if you know someone else who you think might benefit from them, please feel free to share them.

These tips will be based on my thoughts, my experience, and my perspective on the great volume of information and advice that is out there for writers, or would-be writers, to consider and absorb. There is a lot to chose from, and that alone can be a barrier. Where do you start?

I’ll try to help you with that. To do so, I’ll follow a very old bit of wisdom. I’ll start at the beginning and work my way through to the end — topic by topic.

Enjoy the journey. I hope this helps you get to where you want to be. To quote one of my favourite authors [JRR Tolkien]:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

_______

Click on this link if you haven’t already signed up for my Mailing List but would like to do so. I will then drop you an email to let you know whenever I post a new blog.

Click on this link if you want to access a list of all of my Writing Tips posts in one place.

Click here if you want to go to my Home Page. I will be publishing a new fantasy series in April 2019 and you can find more information about that on my website. You can also download a FREE PDF of the first two chapters right now without having to wait for the books to be published.