The Worst Novel I’ve Ever Written

cloud-705729_1280My character is still naked. When I started my latest manuscript, I didn’t think he’d have to be naked for quite this long. Admittedly, it’s causing some funny mayhem. But, it’s at this point when I start questioning if this is the story I should be writing. Will I be able to finish it? Will it be any good?

I know my writing process now, so I know this doubt will continue for the next 300 pages. When I’m done, I’ll say to myself, “That is the worst novel I’ve ever written.” I’ll tuck it away in folder on my computer. I won’t look at it for a year.

I tell myself to persist, though. Without fail, I open the file at the end of the year and actually like what I’ve written. I say to myself, “Hey, this isn’t half bad. Maybe with a couple dozen edits . . . .” That’s the way it happened with my new adult novel, The Miller’s Daughter. I honestly thought that one was going to do me in. It took me longer to write than anything else I’ve undertaken, and when I finished, I was sure it hadn’t come together at all. Now, it’s my favourite.

Living with the self-doubt has become easy. I know it’s coming before it arrives. I know the lies—you’ll never be ableeagle-656437_1280 to finish this one, you’re going to run out of ideas, this MS is never going to come together. So, that little voice chirps out the lies while I keep writing.

I’m not far from the end of my naked scene. I know exactly where the story is going. It’s a terrible story—worst I’ve ever written, but I’ll finish it. In a year, I know I’ll feel differently.

I’ve had new writers tell me they’ve abandoned projects because they don’t think they’re any good. This feeling is normal, but my advice is always the same—trudge ahead. Don’t give up. Maybe it will be terrible, but maybe it will be fantastic. Really, what do you have to lose?

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Into the Elements: A Creative Writing Workshop with Donald Miller

IMG_7337Join me this Sunday, April 27th in the North Kildonan MB church library at 1315 Gateway Rd. from 9:30 to 10:30 am. I’m facilitating the video series Into The Elements, a creative writing workshop taught by author, Donald Miller. The cost is free and no registration necessary.  Here’s more info:

Into the Elements: A writing workshop with best-selling author Donald Miller

Public speakers, novelists, screenwriters, teachers, biographers, journalists, memoirists, essayists and communicators of any sort are invited Into the Elements.Bluelike

Donald Miller delivers four lectures on the art of story, showing any communicator how to translate their ideas into stories that readers, viewers and listeners can’t turn away from.

In this four session series you will learn:
• Use the elements of story to keep an audience interested in your lecture.
• Keep a reader interested on every page of your novel.
• Learn the techniques for creating the beginning, middle, and end of your story.
• Learn to plot the story-arc before you ever write a word of your novel.
• Understand how “The Story Question” is the heart of every story.
• Create stories that are exciting, provocative and meaningful. See More