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Outlining a Novel Woes & #WriteMotivation

I’ve always wanted to write my own novel. But when I sat down to really do it, I’ve always started and got so discouraged as to the “how” of it. And because of that, I’ve shied away from writing a novel since I started back writing seriously in October 2010. My main focus has been short stories and flash fiction. I find these a lot easier to do and they’ve been comfortable for me.

Writer's Frustration

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But since (virtually) meeting a very good friend (KT Hanna)  I’ve made the decision to really tackle this fear. I’m determined to overcome it. But over the last 3 weeks, I’ve just been so lost trying to outline the novel, answer questions I have no idea of the answers yet, and just trying to write it. I’ve read so many pages, articles, blog posts and listened to other people’s tips on how they outline their book. This has been overwhelmingly discouraging and that whole writer’s conscious kicked in a few days ago. I became really depressed and distanced myself from everything. Almost giving up.

What kept me going though, and got me through the negativity was remembering the saying — “Never give up” and also my post about the Epiphany I had on negativity. Everything is a conscious choice. I went to bed that night, praying, thinking, and hoping…despite the  depressive state I was in. The next morning, I woke up. It was a new day, and I made the decision to overcome it. There had to be a way FOR ME that would work FOR ME. Everyone else’s ways were just not working. I made a tweet about it:

Changing Tactics

Changing Tactics

This was my changing point. I made the conscious decision, a conscious effort to do it. I was determined. I sat down that day and wrote a “summary” of sorts, of how I wanted one of my novels to go in my head. I wrote about 2300 words of it (without the ending). Now that I have it’s path written, I can continue with the story. I think.

I’m still struggling with the beginning of it, but it is the first draft. I need to kick my internal editor in the ass and keep him locked in a corner somewhere. I just need to remember to get the words out and then things should be able to flow and eventually I’ll turn those 2300 words into a 90,000 word novel. At least that’s the plan.

Now, I need to do something like that for my first novel I’ve got in my head, but creating a whole new world, with a back story to interject the history, sure does take a lot of time. I think this form of summarizing will help me get an idea of how the story is supposed to go. I can use it as a backbone that can change as I find the answers that I need. But sitting down and writing that summary seemed to get my brain cranking, the story flowing, and I feel 100 times better than I did that day I wanted to quit.

I’m still feeling the love of #WriteMotivation, even after 3 weeks. I’ve met some great people and their support has helped me tremendously. KT has offered to continue the hashtag indefinitely as well as having Goal-Check’s every other month or so. If you are interested, please follow KT Hanna and sing up. It really is very beneficial to keep that writer’s negativity at bay. Here’s hoping we can continue this love and support throughout the years to come.


  1. Ping from Jocelyn Rish:

    I’ve never been a planner, I just feel things as I go along (whoo hoo NaNo!). It makes a mess to clean up during revisions, but it’s what works for me. The important thing is to find what works for you. Sounds like you’re well on your way – just keep trying different things and you’ll find what feels comfortable and makes that novel pour from your fingertips. Good luck!

  2. Ping from Jamie Dement (LadyJai):

    Thanks guys for all your comments! It’s awesome the support you get as well as the different perspectives. I just have to make myself remember that whatever works for me is mine…no one else will do it, no one else’s ways will be mine…just mine. 😀 Sometimes it’s hard learning new things! But at least I am making that effort!

  3. Ping from Ceridwen (@CeridwenT):

    Keep working, Jamie! It doesn’t matter how you write it, just that you do! You’re right about kicking the editor. I always order mine for a walk while I’m writing. I still feel the urge of correcting, but ignoring the mistakes has made all the difference. Good luck! 🙂

  4. Ping from Bonnie Rae:

    You can totally do it. I did NaNo this year and the hardest part for me was not going back and editing/fixing the first few chapters. I had to let my inner perfectionist take a back seat (of force her to rather) and just keep going. Once you get that first draft you will feel great! Then once you start editing/revising/rewriting things you will feel even better, because you will see your novel grow into something so wonderful and something you can be so proud of! Best of luck to you!

  5. Ping from Michael Haynes:

    Good work, Jamie!

    Maybe this will help with your confidence level…

    I’d never written a draft of a novel before NaNoWriMo in November. I’d sorta-kinda wanted to, but felt like I had no clue how to go about it. I made a (pretty pathetic) stab at starting a novel earlier in 2011, and that was it.

    What you’ve done — writing that 2300 or so word outline/summary of the story — that is exactly what I did in October of this year. And when November came around I wrote a 57,000 word novel in under 30 days.

    So, OK, maybe there’s a touch of bragging going on there. 🙂

    But the point here is, that you CAN do this. And the approach you’re taking right now is the exact same one that worked for me. So, while every writer writes a bit differently, I’ve got to say that I think you’re on the right path.

    Good luck with it!

  6. Ping from Angela Brown:

    You’ve done some wonderful things. You’ve gotten serious about writing period
    You’ve applied yourself, put yourself out there and got some publishness behind you.
    Now you’ve got your eyes set on writing a full length novel. I know that, as you’ve tackled each of these tasks before, you will do your best with this, trying and finding what works for YOU, and accomplishing this goal as well.

  7. Ping from K.T. Hanna:

    You know I’m extremely proud of you <3 I think you're doing amazing things with the short time you've been seriously attacking writing again.

    I can't wait to say: I knew her when 😀

  8. Ping from Lynn:

    Jamie, I am of no help regarding outlining. The process is daunting to me, so I understand your feelings .. but .. I know you can do it!

    I would like you to know that I have given you The Versatile Blogger award, and if you go to my blog ( http://www.lynnadavidson.wordpress.com ) you can learn details on my January 22’12 post.

    Blessings on your day! And keep on writing, you have a brilliantly creative mind.

  9. Ping from Alessandra:

    Hang in there! Sometimes all it takes is persistence and just pushing through. I speak from experience!

  10. Ping from Subhakar Das:

    Keep on writing and everything will work itself out. If you dither over an outline you will never get it done…

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