Are you someone who started writing fiction late in life? What got you going?

Are you someone who started writing after years and years of wanting to write, but never actually doing it? What finally got you going?

Since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote lots of stories when I was a kid, and into high school. Then when university came, and grad school, I sort of fell out of the habit. I do write an awful lot as part of my job, but usually in PowerPoint decks or word documents. And, last year, I made a commitment to start blogging about professional topics, and was able to write a post a week (plus an accompanying email to a modest list) for much of the year before taking a break in December. Really, I do write, and quite a lot. I’ve written a dissertation (with significant thanks to Scrivener), articles, essays, and of course emails and that kind of thing.

But I feel the lure of writing fiction. This has been a constant throughout my adult life, but I’ve never actually been able to sit down and start writing fiction in a meaningful way. In a very cliche way, I want to write a novel. However, when I think about the enormity of it all, I just get overwhelmed. I have a few loose ideas kicking around around characters, situations, moods, but the idea of turning those sketches into something significant is intimidating. So I read a lot about writing, and lurk on forums like these, but I don’t actually put fingers to keyboard.

I suspect there are a lot of people like me who want to be a writer without having written. But I’d like to hear from those who moved from wanting to doing, and kept on doing. What finally got you over the hump? Did you implement any particular techniques or strategies? Figure out some new way to look at the world?

I know everyone’s experience is likely to be different but I’m looking less for advice for me than anecdotes from people who have made the trip before.

Here is a story from someone who made the leap of faith…

A lot of good advice as well.

There really is only one way: Start typing.

Youf fingers will find their way thorugh the story. Your fingers - yes! Because you need to let go of “thinking”. Let your muse play; don’t frighten her with judgement.

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I’m a fan of her blog as well. There are tons of life-saving advice. Just follow your dreams!

That would be me. What has held me back for so long is I never had anyone tell me that I could write. I was the kid in the back of the room that was quiet and had bad grades, but not bad enough. I never caused any problems, so teachers left me alone. My wife recently asked me if I always had stories in my head and the answer is yes. That is. where I was at , being so quiet in the back the room. I was in another world, telling a story. When I hit 50 years old, I just didn’t care what people thought and I did not have any more excuses not to start to write these stories down. It is difficult for me to maintain a routine, but. I am slowly putting the pieces together and crafting my voice. I have “0” grammar skills; so I am not sure that what I write will be understood, but I have a plan for that. I will see what the future holds, but. I do exploring other worlds and creating lives and finally putting them on paper…or at least on a hard drive.

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Thanks for the question, synecdoche, and the reminder, lunk, to scan Joanna Penn’s site again. (I went straight to the inner critic/self-doubt section–argh.)

[I’ve framed this as advice–I see that I missed your wish for anecdotes rather than advice–but most of this mirrors my process: of learning to switch to a different perspective and mental framework, and of learning craft nuts and bolts. And especially learning to allow myself to learn, be creaky, to develop, and to be curious about how characters and story, and my process, develop. My fiction writing’s changed quite a bit from when I started this venture.]

I began late (middle age) and with a well-worn mindset that one had to be sparklingly creative to write fiction: that writing fiction was for other, special people. (That movie image of the author sitting at the typewriter writing furiously until a giant stack of papers magically appears. Yes, some write like that. Most wrestle.) I also came from an academic background (PhD) and tech writing. (I’m still wrestling out my mystery novel, revising and working on fixing muddy plot holes.)

One thing I’d like to mention is that it took a while to develop a different writing mind, so I’d suggest letting yourself allow for growth, with kindness for the creaky parts. Academic writing, and that world’s expectations, trained my writing and thinking in a very specific way, as did other nonfiction/technical writing. It took a while to shift to a different thinking process. And most especially voice, come to think of it. John Cleese did a wonderful lecture on the creative thought process, which helped me quite a bit with this. (It looks like he has a book out now?)

Also, lots of craft books and articles and classes. I have an ever-growing stack. :blush: I especially like Elizabeth George’s books on writing, and with your academic background you may like how she talks about building her books, even if your genre isn’t mystery: she does a lot of background building and scaffolding before she moves to writing.

Craft and technique is hugely helpful, because the scaffolding of a story or novel isn’t usually taught in academic fields. Now when I watch a movie or series I notice a lot of craft things: how background is shown (and why it works or feels creaky), how a character’s desire is shown, etc. etc. I was just rewatching the old Smiley’s People with Alec Guiness and realized that a character and scene were there only to explain important background and context (Roddy Martindale). This may not be as alien to you since you wrote as a kid.

What characters want, and why, and how they work to reach that desired goal, with lots of obstacles (internal and external) thrown at them–that’s your playground. Just sketch, noodle, doodle, listen to what sparks you–for 15 minutes if that’s the time you have. You don’t need a big chunk of time, however nice that might be. Allow yourself to find your process.

Some favorite authors and books on writing:

Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit

Elizabeth George’s Mastering the Process, Writing Away
James Scott Bell
Stephen Koch, The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop
Donald Maass
Susan Reynolds, Fire Up Your Writing Brain (helpful for getting into the mindset)
Anne Lamott, bird by bird

Dip your toe in! I’d love to hear about your steps: because it really sounds like you so want to.

Oh, on creakiness and allowing for it: watch or listen to Ira Glass. (Speaking to myself now, really.)

P.S. “Writing” as a process includes messy stream-of-consciousness zero-rules free writing, mind maps, lists of questions, bullet point lists, sketches. It is not (or only extremely rarely) presentable prose in paragraphs. It is learning, with friendly curiosity, about your characters and their world, and especially learning about the process that fleshes them and their story out so that, eventually, once all this is packaged and edited in prose, the reader imagines them fully in her mind.

I loved the pulp novels of Richard S. Prather as a kid, the Shell Scott series.

Very late in 2015 I picked some up on my iPad. I liked them still, but I had an epiphany—“I can do this!” I also thought maybe I could do it better.

Well, who can judge?

I decided to try. 12 days later I had 60,000 words. I was a pure pantser. It changed my life, changed everything.

I’d never had anywhere close to this much fun in my entire life.

So it became a quest and a passion. I write/rewrite for about 7 hours a day, every day, and I’ve never stopped.

Now I have a courtship love story trilogy of nearly 600,000 words and two detective novellas, one 50,000 and one 20,000, all in very late-draft mode. Anyone who wishes, can read them, and even critique them if they like. Just PM me.

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I started writing when I was eight years old, but my mother made it abundantly clear that being a “writer” was on par with being an “artist”, neither of which would produce enough income to earn a living. So, I was steered away into a job in healthcare which I held for 22 years.

At 33, I was off work for an extended period of time and decided to take some courses in writing short stories for children and teens, then another course in writing a novel for children and teens. I successfully published a short story and have a YA manuscript that needs re-writing. I returned to work and was forced to medically retire in 2012.

I deviated into coaching for four years and then in 2017, I began writing nonfiction articles for one online magazine (not paid) and then became a contributing writer for a different magazine submitting fictional short stories and poems (unpaid). I was promoted to editor in June of 2020 and now have my own team of writers that I edit. All of this is unpaid. That being said, I completed the first draft of my first novel on January 16/21. I am now in editing mode and intend to publish this year. I turn 53 in March.

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I always wanted to write science fiction and/or fantasy. As a middle grades to young adult reader (not that there were such classifications in those ancient days!) I inhaled Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Tolkien, and many others whose names are now lost in the mists of pulp.

I myself turned away from writing. For many years I was terrified to try, not because anyone discouraged me, but because there was no absolute way to judge writing. It was clearly subjective as opposed to judging math and science in which an answer was either right or wrong. So I became an engineer.

As a profession, engineering was good to me for 3 decades, but I often wished that I dared write fiction. I made occasional feeble stabs at it. In 2001 or 2002 I started taking film classes after work. In 2005 I tried my first NaNoWriMo. I’ve written more or less steadily since. My output may never be what I’d like, but I keep on churning out words in dribbles. I even won NaNoWriMo a few times (the first was in 2012, 7 years after I started doing NaNo!)

So here I am, still trying to complete & polish a full-length novel, but I’ve had 2 short stories published and self-published a novella. I keep chugging. :smiley:

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I am in this category-- you might say, reluctantly. At 58, I’m changing things up. It started in 2019 when my 12yo son died (from leukemia), and my wife and other son were sitting around after the funeral wishing there was some way we could commemorate him, and give him “adventures he never got to have”, which is where the concept for “The Further Adventures of Mason” came from.

Since then, I’ve been working to learn how to “be a writer”, in addition to writing my first book which I’ve got (perpetually, it seems) around 2/3’s completed. While everybody has always told me I’m a “natural writer”-- I don’t think that’s true, though some aspects might come easier to me, I suppose. Sitting down to crank out an actual book has been a challenge. Especially since I didn’t know the first thing about “story”, how to structure a narrative, and all the other bajillion things that go into getting it done.

Still, I have worked at it-- mostly every day, though with some long-ish breaks here and there to think and re-think what I’m doing, and solve problems of various types.

I think my biggest challenge to-date has simply been the naivete of it all-- sitting down with nothing but my “wits” to start writing. I quickly wrote myself into a corner and had to figure out how to “get out of the box”. My goal was way too ambitious (but nobly inclined, IMO), and I had to re-think (restructure / reoplot) my book at least three major times to finally get a story that does my son, and my concept, justice.

I freely admit I pretty much chained myself to every “literary boulder” imaginable at the outset. Too many factions (threads), a complicated plot, too much “science” and “technical detail”, and the various other issues involved in “learning how to write”.

It’s been fun watching myself do this-- and learning-- but seeing myself getting better in understanding “story”, and setting up scenes, etc. to make them more interesting, compelling, suspenseful, and all the rest.

I still have a long way to go before I could consider myself “good”, I think. But I have enjoyed the journey-- even if it began reluctantly, as I mentioned before.

My background is much more technical-- computers, electronics, programming, robotics, “mechatronics”, building machine tools, that sort of thing. Those were all activities that my son (both sons, really) have been involved with me on since practical the day they were born. When my oldest son died, it cast a deep pall on all of those activities. I could barely even enter my workshop or my project room, without seeing his “ghost” everywhere. It’s still true nearly two years later.

It’s a little bit ironic that I’ve hit upon writing. My son was extremely intelligent (looking to go to MIT when he graduated high school) but for all of the wonderful super-genius things he could do-- the one thing he always had a problem with was writing creatively, giving himself permission to use his imagination. It was something that we (myself, my wife, his tutors & teachers) were all planning to work with him on the year that he died.

So, in a strange way-- I’m engaged in the one activity where I don’t see his ghost-- writing about him and his friends in their new adventures which, while they are about him, are also somehow “compartmentalized” in some way-- it’s hard to explain, I guess :slight_smile:

Anyway, I’ve found that I like being a writer, and I have more stories to tell. Not only in the “universe” I’ve created for my son and his friends, but also in general. It is my plan to continue doing it, for as long as the powers that be (and my wife) permit it.

I’m also starting to come out of my shell a little regarding my former activities. Not 100% (barely even 1%, really) but the thought of being there without him isn’t as soul-crushing any more, though I’lll always miss him. I doubt that will ever go away. But I think I want to be a writer now.

I really hope he would like his story.

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When I first started writing, I was concerned about “the words” (word count) but I’ve come to a new place where I’m not stressed about that, apart from some technical aspects-- understanding typical reader attention span, wanting to break things up into bite-sized chunks, etc. But otherwise, the story will take the number of words required to tell, and not one word more or less.

I have yet to find a “good system” that works for me, regarding organization and such-- and believe me, I have searched high and low for “the thing”. I mostly stick with pencil and paper for doodling, brainstorming, working through issues and such. But I really wish there was a way I could do it digitally-- perhaps some sort of “electronic paper” or something that would allow me to bridge the gap between doing it on paper and be able to re-structure it, represent it more formally in the computer-- which is where I do the vast majority of my work.

But I agree-- forget about the “enormity of the task” and just start laying it out. Remember that each scene should be it’s own little “story” with a beginning, middle and an end, and a crucible of some sort. Randy Ingersolman’s “Snowflake Method” is such a great way to visualize how scenes work. I HEARTILY recommend both his books to anyone wishing to know more. Of course, there are lots of other people who also have good ideas on story and structure-- I’ve read 100’s of them at this point-- but of all of them, I think the Snowflake Method is the one that hit home the best. Something just “clicked” inside my head when I read it.

Another good thing to tell people is don’t worry about writing “crap”. That’s what first drafts are all about. It’s a lot easier to edit something than nothing (a blank page), and I find my best efforts come in re-writing, rather than original writing.

Yes-- THIS-- exactly. That’s been one of the biggest new things I’ve noticed about consuming stories (movies, books, whatever) these days. I’ve always been good at “predicting” outcomes, but I see the whole thing from a completely different perspective these days. Like you said, why certain characters exist, setups / payoffs, how the author works to manipulate emotions and feelings, and to provide “slots” for us to insert ourselves and take the “emotional roller-coaster ride” he/she promises us at the outset. Once you start writing and understanding “story”, you’ll never watch a movie or read a book the same way again-- guaranteed!

(Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing)

Ha. Partners may have stronger opinions. At least I’m now (mostly) suppressing the urge to pause in the middle of the movie and say: “Ooh! Oooh! See what they did there?!” and go on about some point of craft. Or, sigh about “too much Explaining there.” (Husband was very patient with me. :joy:)

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Yes, I have that exact problem :slight_smile:

jwhitten, I’m sorry for your loss. I hope your endeavor helps you, your family and others!

I’ll be 54 this September 2021. I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I have always been a story teller, and come from a long line of oral story tellers. I’m from the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, and story-telling is in our blood.

While I wanted to be a writer, I never pursued it seriously. When I would consider it, I’d revert back to that third grader - an introverted, severely underweight, asthmatic kid who couldn’t talk clearly. In particular, the day my teacher pulled me out of the classroom, my back against the cold wall as she poked me with her stupidly long index fingernail. She told me I was retarded and didn’t belong in her class. I didn’t fight back. I didn’t reply with a smart-assed retort, something I developed later with great mischief, and took her insults. Something changed inside me that day. My home life had never been great and school wasn’t much better. But that teacher took something from me that day. I wanted to be a writer but I wasn’t smart enough.

My hatred for school and teachers did retard my school learning, but I learned things in the real world. I taught myself everything. How to work on lawn mower motors and bicycles. Later, how to program in basic and build computers. At 21, I applied for a production job with a new start-up manufacturing plant. They put us through a battery of tests and I ranked in the top tier. I excelled in process engineering and was awarded several technical roles due to my competencies, in spite of competing against degreed applicants. I would record the boring technical data from my shifts in a log book where I created science fiction stories to report the data. Managers from across the plant would show up at the end of shift to read my reports.

Still, I didn’t try to put my novel ideas to paper. Finally, my current employer asked me to pursue a college degree. The board wanted to promote me to a V.P. position but wouldn’t do so without a bachelor’s degree. My employer asked me to identify a degree program and attend college at their expense. So, at 50, I bit the bullet and attended college in pursuit of a B.S. in Business Management and Leadership. At 54, I graduated Summa Cum Laude. I’m not a braggart. I’m an example that you shouldn’t let bad experiences and fear hold you back from trying to be the best you can be.

I loved writing the journal article reviews. I chose every elective available that focused on writing. It was during one of these that my professor commented on my writing abilities. Her deceased husband had been a published sci-fi author, and she had been his editor. She encouraged me to write more and provided feedback. During my senior year, I was asked to submit a short story for the creative writing department’s annual competition. I did so and won. That stoked the fire.

I made the decision to start writing once I had completed my degree, which was December of 2017. It took some time to discover how and where I liked to write. It took time to discover which software packages worked best for me. I dallied with Ulysses, and overall, liked it but didn’t like their licensing strategy. I use Scrivener, ProWritingAide, Grammarly, Mindnode, and Aeon Timeline.

I have finished my first novel, Call To Action, Paired Series, Book One. It’s a 134,000 word story about a teenager from the Blue Ridge who discovers she is a Paladin, destined to fight evil with the help of her companion, Scout, a rat terrier, whom she is paired with telepathically. It’s a Christian themed fantasy novel. I describe it that way because I am loath to write salacious sex scenes, uncouth language, or depravedly graphic violence. I’m waiting to review the author proofs of the print book next week before I publish.

I’m 3/4 of the way through the first draft of book two, and have three other books in the series outlined. I have a bunch of short stories to go through, as well. I write when I can, as I can. I’m the breadwinner and can’t quit my day job to pursue writing full time. Not yet, al least. The thing is, you have to just make time and do it.

Am I a writer? Hell if I know. I enjoy the process. It is therapeutic and empowering. I know there will be errors in the manuscript. I bet there’s plot holes, too. My engineering side comes out here, and I look at writing as a process like any other. Perfection comes with a very high cost because it’s unobtainable. But like every process in existence, you produce the work, examine the process, identify the errors and deficiencies, implement corrective actions, and repeat. I’m too old to spend ten years refining a book before I turn it loose!


Good story, and thanks for the kind words. You and I don’t live that far apart. I’m up in the Northern VA region, near DC. Grew up in Southern VA though, right on the state line.

All of this writing has been a new thing for me. I’m enjoying it, and especially about learning the “art of story”. That part has been particularly interesting as I compare / contrast the various ideas and strategies for developing stories. At this point, I’ve mostly adopted the “snowflake method”, as a paradigm. When I read the books, something just clicked in my head-- and I’ve been doing much better since then.

I know there are a few plot holes in my story-- I’ve farmed parts of it out to a number of alpha-readers though, and have only (mainly) focused on the ones that they noticed. I know of some others, but I’m not sayin’…


I agree, Randy Ingermanson’s book on his snowflake method was very helpful. I enjoyed the book and the way he wrapped his methodology within a story. It reminded me of another book that was pivotal in my thinking regarding process engineering, The Goal, by Eli Goldratt. I found the book by David Hewson, Writing: A User Manual useful as well. Good nuggets there.

I found the Hero’s Journey outline method works best for me. I created a template in Scrivener with the Hero’s Journey outline in the binder. I can work on scenes and let the outline remind me I need to keep things interesting and my protagonist moving towards their goal.

I edited my manuscript four times, using beta readers for feedback on the last two iterations. I’m getting ready to release it to the wild. When I read through it, sections written earlier in the process versus later were obvious! To end up at 134,000 words, I wrote over 250,000. I had to learn how to remain focused and not go off on tangents. Those tangents weren’t wasted though. They are the guts of books 2, 3, and 4 of the Paired Series.

My only regret is that I didn’t make the decision to write earlier in my life.


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I’m 48, and I knew I wanted to write fiction by the time I was about 13. But I was an immigrant who only moved to the U.S. when I was 11, so I always felt insecure about the fluency of my English. My writing felt clumsy and lacking the lyrical quality I admired in the authors I read, and simply reading back what I had wrote made me cringe hard enough that I would give up quickly. But I would write in other formats such as screenplay/teleplay/comic book script, because those formats were less reliant on prose styling.

At around the same time, I was also deeply passionate about art and music and directing, having grown up with anime, manga, American and European graphic novels, sci-fi/fantasy/horror novels, movies, illustration, and listening to soundtracks and musical artists of the 80’s. I loved them all equally and couldn’t make up my mind which to pursue, so I ended up pursuing them all and became a professional creative that tackled all of them.

Starting from the year I graduated high school, I worked as an illustrator for graphic novels, and a few years later I got signed as a creator/writer/artist for my own dark urban fantasy series. Looking back now, I lacked education and understanding in dramatic structure, character arc development, thematic purpose, etc., so I was just writing from instinct. But I loved the storytelling aspect of creating graphic novels so much that I realized I loved it more than the art aspect, as drawing can sometimes feel like a chore, such as having to draw lots of buildings and cars and street signs in scenes if your story calls for them. When writing, every moment you’re conveying an idea, making a statement, or expressing an emotion, whereas often in drawing, you’re doing a lot of tedious repetition or technical polishing that doesn’t resonate with your emotions or intellect from moment to moment. It was around that time I realized my true passion was in storytelling, not art.

My other main passion is music, and I taught myself to compose/arrange at 18, and then became a professional songwriter by 22, and about a decade later I also got into composing soundtracks for film and games. But music has some of the same issue as art, where there are elements of repetition and tedium, such as having to practice for many hours on instruments or working out technically challenging compositional problems like complex counterpoint melodies or harmonic structures that are interesting yet still resolves to satisfaction. Music theory can sometimes feel like math in those moments. The technical aspect like mixing/mastering can also be a bit mind-numbing at times, when you have to listen to the same parts over and over and make minute adjustments to the EQ, compression, limiter, etc., while avoiding listening fatigue. However, I still love music and although I stopped doing it professionally, I still make music for pleasure now.

Throughout the last three decades, I’ve also worked in film, television, animation, video games, and photography, and while they are all creative and in the art and entertainment industries, often you have to deal with creative differences, funding issues, technical issues, and after having experienced arguing on the film set, or getting funding pulled on a production, or told to chop off entire storylines due to marketing decisions, or clients having strange and unreasonable expectations, it just feels like writing novels as a lone wolf suited my personality the best, because I don’t have budget constraints or technical issues or creative differences with others.

Although I’ve always been writing since age 13, and have been published since my early twenties, my dream was always to be a novelist. Around my mid-twenties I started to write short stories and novels, because I just felt the creative itch so badly and had to do it. But like I mentioned earlier, that insecurity I felt as an immigrant always gnawed at the back of my mind, and although by then my English was certainly every bit as good or even better than most Americans, I still felt like I was lacking when compared to my literary heroes. I would then write on and off based on level of inspiration/motivation.

I had my first breakthrough/epiphany in 2010. One day, I was inspired to write a zombie apocalypse novel, and the motivation was overwhelming. I ended up writing for about 14 hours straight that day, while eating the meals in front of the computer. The rush I felt was unprecedented, and it was on that day I realized it was my destiny to be a novelist. From that day on, I became more serious about writing novels, and would continue to write off and on for the next nine years or so, accumulating several unfinished novels, some as many as 75K words. But as much as I was writing, I wasn’t finishing anything, I then realized around the end of 2018 that if I was serious about becoming a novelist, I would need to finish them and get them published. I couldn’t just go on writing only when I felt inspired, or putting unfinished drafts on the backburner and then start another one, only the repeat that process over and over while the stack of unfinished manuscripts grows. It was actually the writing group I was in that talked me into doing NaNoWriMo that year that was the catalyst for this turning point in my journey as a writer. I had always known about NaNoWriMo and even toyed with the idea of doing it, but always felt like rushing was not a good idea. That year, I gave in to peer pressure and so glad I did, because it showed me what real discipline was in writing, and if I want to have a career at all in it, I would need to be disciplined.

Since then, I’ve finished the first draft of one novel, and I’m 77K into the next one I’ll finish. Once I get there, I’ll get this new one out to beta readers, and I’ll need to decide if I want to rewrite that other one I finished (the beta-reading process told me it needs to be completely rewritten), or tackle another one’s first draft.

My advice for anyone who’s serious about writing, is that you need to ask yourself what you want to get out of it. If you just want to write for your own enjoyment, then just write whenever you feel like it. But if you want to turn it into a career, then you absolutely must have discipline, because there’s no other way to have a career. Deadlines won’t wait for inspiration, and at any other job–including other creative jobs, your clients and bosses and deadlines and mortgages won’t wait for you to get inspired. While inspiration can’t be controlled reliably, discipline is something you can develop and rely on, and often that is better than inspiration, because once you have discipline, you can also train your mind to be more creative as well, so you can create at the drop of the hat and won’t have to wait for inspiration.

To build and maintain discipline, I try to write as often and as much as I can, and that means even if I only have 30 minutes between two things I need to do, I’ll take it and write for those 30 minutes. When I have longer blocks of time, I’ll try to shoot for at least 1K words. Sometimes when it’s not going smoothly, I might end up with only a few hundred words, but when things are going well, I can surpass that goal. It’s important to not let shorter blocks of time become an excuse, because the word count adds up even if you do only a few dozens words each writing session. At the end of the month, you’ll still be up by 10K words that you otherwise wouldn’t have if you let it become an excuse to not write.

Using record keeping apps help a lot. I use goal/task keeping apps to record my wordcount every time I write, and you can see an example of my record-keeping here: Finished the first draft of my book! « Ethereality News & Weblog

As for learning about the technical and artistic aspect of writing, there are tons of books and workshops and podcasts and YouTube videos out there. You can learn everything you need, but at some point you need to get that butt in chair and those fingers on the keyboard, because your books are not going to write themselves.

And don’t let shitty first drafts discourage you. Almost all writers, including the most successful and respected ones, cringe at their own first drafts. They would even get their first drafts torn to shreds by their writer’s group or beta-readers, and they’ll have to use the feedback to rewrite a better next draft. My first beta-reading experience from my writing group was so brutal that I couldn’t even writer for the next several months, but eventually I got back on the horse and rebuild my momentum, and now I’m on my way to finishing the next book’s first draft.

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