There is now more motivation than ever to start writing that novel you've always felt you had in you. With self-publishing, and initiatives like National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is fondly known, people who have always wanted to write a book but have been put off by obstacles, such as the fear of never getting published, now have a means to get their work out there and even start making money from it. However, many of the aspiring authors who start writing their novel still find themselves losing motivation and leaving all of those painstakingly crafted words sitting on their hard drive gathering metaphorical dust.
So, what can you do to improve your chances of actually making it to the finish line with your first full manuscript?
Learn more about writing
No matter how skilled or unskilled you currently think you are at writing, you can gain a lot in terms of motivation by doing a creative writing course or joining a writing group. Whether you decide to do something like an MFA creative writing course, or simply read some books about how to craft good stories and write great prose, the idea of learning new skills as you produce your novel can help you stay focused on the end goal and approach your projects more positively.
Set goals and track progress
When people do NaNoWriMo, their goal is to produce a 50,000-word first draft of a novel in 30 days. Broken down over a month, this actually only amounts to less than 1500 words per day which is manageable for most writers, even with a full-time job. There are even some people who have completed their 50,000 words in as little as 3 days, though these are of course professional writers using techniques they have built up over time to maximize their productivity. Having measurable goals and targets like these really helps you to see how far you have come and to measure whether or not you are still on track. This can be highly motivational and help you stay the course when it comes to finishing your novel. You don't have to adopt an ambitious goal like completing a novel in one month, but do have a plan in terms of how long you want your book to be, and how much writing you will need to do each day or in your scheduled writing slots to complete it by your chosen deadline.
NaNoWriMo is partly popular because so many people do it, making it easy to get support and encouragement. However, there is no reason to wait until November and write your novel at the same time as everyone else, you can simply find groups online which offer support at any time, or seek help from your own friends and family to cheer you on your way to a complete book.
Writing a novel is as much about willpower and commitment as it is about talent and having a good idea. If you do everything you need to stay motivated, then there is no reason why you can't become a novelist and proudly claim your first published book.