The Hardest Thing About Writing a Novel

For me, the hardest thing about writing is having faith that I will be able to finish my novel. It's a big undertaking. Writing 100,000 words. And they can't be random words, they actually have to be carefully planned. One has to go after another in the right order.

I've never written a novel before. I've written essays, articles, short stories, tweets, poems, and sometimes jokes. Don't get excited, the jokes are usually pretty bad. As a doctor, I write history and physicals all day long. I know I can write these things, because I've done them before.

I don't know if I can write a novel.

It's not for lack of trying. In my old files, I have started and given up on at least eight different novels. At first, I am very excited, I start creating the world and the characters, I imagine different terrifying things that can happen to my creations, and start them on the path on their own story.

And then I get stuck, because writing a novel is challenging. The story has to make sense and the characters have to fit the story. It's hard to keep things interesting and keep everything fitting together. Plus you have to stay motivated for the long haul as the writer.

I've started and stopped writing novels eight separate times, so I don't know if the ninth time will be the charm. I just have to have faith that I will succeed.

I also make things harder for myself, because in order for me to stay interested, I like the story to be complicated. I add subplots, I add new characters, I dangle little clues about surprise endings that I still haven't planned yet. I end up with a complicated tangle of characters, ideas, settings, and plot that somehow needs to be smoothed and straightened into a clear story.

It's a big challenge to tell a good story and to tell it clearly. When the story is as long as a novel, that's an exceptional challenge. I do not have a secret on how to achieve it. I'm hoping doing the work will be enough.