You can do this.
I am in the early part of my writing career as well, but have discovered a passion for encouraging and mentoring other writers. Lately I've been thinking about starting a YouTube channel dedicated to helping writers write, covering a lot of the topics I have written on this blog over the last 18 months since this website was founded. Still thinking about it- if you want me to do it, or if you think I'm crazy, leave a comment below! When someone walks up to me or calls and says, "Can I just pick your brain? I have this book I'm trying to write but I can't get off square one", it makes my day. I have found amazing joy in writing that I want nothing more than for others to find it for themselves as well. Seeing them succeed in completing that book, whether its a novel or not, makes my heart sing for them. It's not about what I did, but what I simply helped them see that they could do themselves.
One of the comments I hear a lot when someone is first starting out is, "I've written a bunch of stuff, but there's no cohesiveness. It just doesn't flow." The first thing I always tell them is that they aren't alone. Every author has uttered those words, even if it was just to themselves.
Every single one.
My answer to them, and my answer to you if you are dealing with the same issue, is to completely put that thought out of your brain for right now. If you are in the middle (or even the beginning) of writing your first draft, you are WAY too early in the process to even be thinking about it. Cohesiveness and flow will come later.
Now, I know what you're thinking. When writing at the beginning we need to be thinking about the final product, and you're not wrong. However, it's easy to spend a lot of time worrying about tying all of it together that you never actually write anything. Also, most projects, especially fiction writing, have a tendency to evolve. Write what comes to you, even if its completely out of order as far as the timeline in the story, and clean it up later. Again, cohesiveness and flow come later, when you are able to go over the entire body of work with one brush.
Let me give you an example of what I mean by the evolution of a story. As many of you know, I am currently in the first draft writing phase of my next novel. When I was editing and finishing Phoenix Morrow, a series of characters and their stories began forming in my mind. A woman and her husband, along with their teenage daughter, were the main characters. As I have spent time with them in my imagination (which I know makes me sound crazy but any creative person reading this knows exactly what I mean), supporting characters began to come into focus, changing the story of the main three. At the beginning, the story was focused primarily on the mom, but that honestly isn't the case anymore. The more I write, and the more time I have spent with all of these characters, the more focused I have become on the daughter. I'm realizing that this book is really the daughter's story, not her mom's. Guess what? That's okay.
Had I spent all of this time determined to make the mom's story flow, her daughter's narrative never would have gotten written, and in my humble opinion her story is going to be a wonderful read. All I can do it write what needs to be written, and then come over it later with flow in mind. Worrying about it now gets me nowhere, and it will get you nowhere as well if you fixate on it too early in your writing process.
Write. Write your first draft and let it be awful if you have to. It's okay. There's nothing wrong with it or you.
You can do this.
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