When It Feels Like There’s Nothing Left to Be Written

Nathan Bransford gets it right. Again:

Hans_III_Jordaens_001aby Nathan Bransford

There’s a fantastic moment in the movie The Truman Show where young Truman tells his teacher that he wants to be an explorer like the great Magellan. His teacher pulls down a map and says cheerfully, “Oh, you’re too late! There’s nothing left to explore!”

It can sometimes feel this way when writing too. There are hundreds of thousands of books out there. Every genre feels well-worn. We have the voices of hundreds of writers swimming around our heads.

How can we stand out from the pack? How are we going to get someone to read our book instead of all the others ones? What’s going to make ours different and better?

Writers are often their own worst enemies in this regard. The type of person who will eventually write a successful novel is adept at spotting their own flaws, and mistakes are plentiful at the beginning of the novel-writing process.

What often stops would-be writers in their tracks is that their first efforts aren’t very good. And they know it. The voice sounds like another author’s voice, the plot feels like an imitation of a book they’ve already read, and it doesn’t start out feeling particularly original.

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