I haven’t written anything since a long time and by writing I mean writing stories. Probably I am going through a writer’s block.
And I decided to write something. Just something. ANYTHING!! And then I sat down with a pen in my hand and I couldn’t write anything! A novel, maybe. It’s the worst thing in the world, not able to write anything. That made me think of the things that stop me from writing a novel.
1) GENRE- This is the first and the most important decision which has to be taken by a writer. What genre shall I write? There are tons of genres to choose from and you have a lot of competition inspiration by fellow genre writers. It is probably said that “Write what you love to read”. What if I like to read horror, fantasy, thriller and suspense? Does that mean I can write all of them? And the problem is if you read every genre and like them all. Now deciding which one to choose among them is like choosing if you like Tom or Jerry better (I’d say probably Jerry!) Hey, that’s a stupid example yeah I know but you get the point right?
Selecting the perfect genre can do wonders. Take an example (and this is relevant), if J. K. Rowling didn’t write Harry Potter considering she doesn’t want to write a fantasy novel, would the world get the greatest book? She decided on a genre and she did it.
2) STORY- The next thing that needs a decision is the story. Suppose you chose Romance genre but you have millions of different stories and all of them are same in some way. Then what should I write? Worry not my friend, because I’m too struggling to think of good great story for my debut novel. And I’ll let you know when I know how to really find a great story that defines you. Nobody wants to be seen as a person to who people say-“Are you the one who that romance book?” Hell, they should remember the title of your book, it should be that great.
And finding a story is difficult, mainly for those who are not born as natural story-tellers. It involves hard work and research to plan the story to its minute details so that the plot doesn’t go blank after some time.
3) CHARACTERS- I don’t want my book to have underdeveloped characters. No! I will have to know my characters to the last point. And I don’t want similar characters too in my book. I don’t want people to think-“Oh that character also sounds like the main character!” when actually they are both different personalities. I don’t want cliché characters too. It’s like eating the same food every day. You may survive but you’ll not love how you’re surviving. Same is with the readers, they’ll want to read your novel but not love it. They’ll consider it as an average read and stack it in the back of their bookshelf. We don’t want that, do we?
4) FEAR- Most of the time I don’t write anything is because I have the constant fear that I’m not good enough and why would people read my work instead of the thousands of great authors? I know it’s common but it’d really de-motivating.
It is said that writers should not think this when writing and not compare themselves with others, but is it really easy to do so?
According to me there is one solution to this. Write a small story or anything, even an essay. Then select a group of people, but make sure it doesn’t have too many relatives or friends as they tend to give personal opinion of a work instead from the actual reader’s point of view. This helped me a lot since I posted a short story and many people responded with comments, both praises and mistakes if they saw any. It does two things; boosts your confidence to write for a larger audience and also gain from your past mistakes.
5) VICTIM OF PLAGIARISM- I love to read and I accept that. And I faintly remember all the stories of the novels I’ve read before. So that means when I sit to think of a story I tend to think of a story I already know and that leads to plagiarism. I have no interest in copying another author’s work but I can’t help it if my story slightly resembles another story. This is also a big problem in this world of millions of books and whatever we may write it would resemble another novel by chance.
This poses the maximum threat as copying work is illegal. Even Helen Keller, as a kid, plagiarized a story she’d read before and published it. She accepted her mistake afterward but she didn’t write for a very long time after that. So be sure of what you write and make sure it isn’t copied.
These are the reasons why I’m not writing now. Maybe I will when these problems get sorted.