I just started writing a new novel a few weeks ago and I feel like a teenager again.
Yes, there is the euphoria and the excitement of magical new lands to discover, and the thrill of new horizons coming into view.
But when I say I feel like a teenager again, that’s not what I mean. Because, in addition to the euphoria, excitement, and thrill, I am also being clobbered by tidal waves of confusion, self-doubt, intense emotion, and fear, fear, fear.
As an INFJ, I live inside two worlds. There is the world outside of my body, made up of people and buildings and trees and things, and then there is the real world: the world inside my soul.
When I tell people this, I know that they think they understand what I’m talking about. I’m a dreamer, and an idealist. I’m that girl, who always has her head in the clouds. They would be right. I am those things. But when I say that, for me, the real world exists inside my soul, it goes way beyond that.
There’s a lot of feel-good quotes and advice out there for writers on the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I need to hear this sort of stuff just as much as the next person. It IS important to “believe in yourself,” “just keep going,” and “never give up.”
Aspiring writers often ask me, “What the most important piece of writing wisdom you wish you knew when you were just starting out as a writer?” My answer is never what they expect. It’s not the tried-and-true “show, don’t tell” or “kill your darlings” advice we’ve all heard time and time again. It’s something much simpler. And in my opinion, something that would have saved me years of frustration, self-doubt, and self-judgment.
My most important piece of writing wisdom:
Of all the “writing rules,” this is the one almost every writer breaks.
It’s also the one that will always bite you in the ass if you break it.
If you break this rule, your story will punish you for it. Your plot will fall flat and your ending will fizzle. In fact, you might not even reach the end because your book will have given up on you long before you’re lucky enough to reach that point.
Here’s the rule: