Writing a Novel

Optimal Mental Health and Well-Being

Writing a Novel

I thought I’d write my first post in a new category I created called My Goals. I created this category because I think as a coach, it is important to show that I am a real person who goes through many of the struggles that my clients do. I am not an expert at achieving my goals, although ever since I got sober in 1982 my life has radically changed for the better.

You might think I have it made, but you’d be mistaken. Despite all that I’ve accomplished, I still have goals I would like to achieve. And like you, I can feel more comfortable thinking about them rather than work toward achieving them. So I am going to tell on myself and let you in on a goal I’ve had for a few years that I am finally working on achieving.

Writing a novel.

While I’ve had lots of ideas for novels, and imagined myself the author of a New York Times Bestseller, I never could let go of my comfort zone of dreaming about it, but not actually putting the first words on paper until the past few months.

I can’t tell you why I finally took the first steps by putting pen to paper. I can’t tell you why I work on it almost everyday. I can’t tell you why I keep going forward even though there’s a part of me that says I’ll never get it completed, and if by some chance I finished it, that I’d never get in published, and if by some chance I got it published, that no one would buy it.

What’s important for me, and for anyone who wants to achieve a goal, is that I began to take action toward achieving it. In this case, my plan was to write 500 words a day regardless of how good they were. This letting go of making a judgment was the key to moving forward. All I care about is writing at least 500 words a day. If I keep doing this I will eventually finish the first draft of my novel. Then, and only then, can I go back and work on revising it.

I used this strategy to great success when I was a doctoral student at the University of Maryland Baltimore. I was so insecure about writing a paper due to fear that I wasn’t smart enough that I would become paralyzed. I broke through this resistance by telling myself that I was going to write the first draft of the paper, even if it wasn’t any good. Once I got the energy moving, I was finally able to finish the draft, which made me feel good about myself. I would then work on revising what I had already written.

Get the energy moving by taking a small step toward achieving your goal. Keep the energy moving by continuing to take small steps each day.

Time will tell on what success I have regarding my novel getting published and becoming a best seller, although I am committed to getting the first draft finished. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be a famous novelist and you can say you read about my journey when I was an unknown.

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