I have a confession to make: writing is hard. Especially when you know your novel is going to be published.
I am currently writing the first young adult novel that I plan on publishing (I have four manuscripts lying in a drawer). I am not going to lie to you: the struggle is real. It is one thing to write knowing that nobody will read it, but it is quite another where everyone and your mother can pick it up.
What does this look like? Let us say I have started three different drafts. Two of them are now best friends with the (digital) wastebasket.
What made these drafts share an electronic graveyard with all those Corgi photos I keep downloading (but sadly have to delete because they cause desktop clutter)? They all felt like I was clearing my throat. I didn't outline my plot. I didn't know my characters. Heck, I didn't even know whose story it was!
So I went back to the drawing board. I went to a beautiful cafe with hanging green plants on a trellis (like the plants in "Do Rei Mei" from Sound of Music) and wrote a general outline, a chapter-by-chapter outline, AND a narrative outline for each character. I interviewed my characters, wrote random notes about them on the subway, and thought about them on walks with my Corgi, Nola.
When I got to my third try, I was ready. Sure, it is not perfect (no draft is), but I am finally at a place where I am ready to start. Yes, the characters are still surprising (when did my snarky narrator like fairytales?), but I know enough about them and their stories to record it.
The moral of the story? If you are stuck starting your draft, you might need to go back to the planning stages and build stronger foundations for your writing. Also, don't rush it. Sometimes you need to let your ideas marinate a bit more before writing.
Are you currently struggling with starting a novel? Let me know if you are having issues in the comments below. I would love to help!