Writing a Novel: When Starting Is the Hardest Part

writing, novel, author, NaNoWriMo

This month, I’ve decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, or Camp National Novel Writing Month. If you remember back in November last year, I wrote about regular NaNoWriMo and the joy that fall brings to writers. Summer can do the same. During the months of April and July, a different NaNoWriMo takes place. Instead of writing 50,000 words in a month, you can choose to write as many words, pages, or how long you write. It’s a fun, intense, and exciting time because you set the limits and get rewarded for completing them. What more could a writer want?

Well, a good way to start the story would be nice. For this Camp NaNoWriMo, I decided to restart a sci-fi novel I had started way back when I was 14. Needless to say, it needed a restart. So I sit down July 1st and start writing. I’ve got the prologue down flat and am just about to start the first chapter when…. I stall. How do I start a novel when I know I need to get from point A to point C, but have no idea where point A is and where point B needs to be?

This is can be the real struggle for any story writer, even ┬áthose who have been writing for years. Writer’s block is never something to pass off as something only new writers deal with. The only thing difference in writer’s block between a new writer and a veteran is that a veteran has some techniques for dealing with writer’s block that the new writer doesn’t. That’s it. So how do you push past it?

Well, to be honest, you push past it. You throw something unexpected in, continue down the path you’ve started and see where the story’s taking you, or stop writing that scene and start working on another. As I said, everyone deals with writer’s block differently. But you still have to push through it. Otherwise, you’re stuck for good with no way out. But how do you push through when you have no idea how to continue? Lots of people have different tricks, but they don’t work for everyone. The best way to break through writer’s block is understanding how you write and how you get ideas.

For me, I go back and forth between pushing through by just writing or through throwing something new into the scene. Sometimes the pushing through works on its own, but sometimes the story needs a little something. A new character, a plot twist, or even something tragic can take the story in a new turn to get it where it needs to go. What about you? Have you figured out your writer’s block breakthroughs? Or are you still looking for new ways to break it? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned on social media this August for an update on the blog!