In order to become the writer you want to be, you have to forgive yourself

If you love to write, why does it feel so difficult?

So many writers struggle to make time to sit down and type, stealing an hour before work, or after the children have gone to bed -- and yet, when they finally get in place and are ready to continue their book, they feel terrible.

Sometimes they can't write anything. 

Sometimes they do start writing, but it feels awful.

This is probably bad, they think. 

I'm doing it wrong.

Look -- I know this feeling well. 

And the truth is, making art is hard. In particular, writing a novel is a complex, demanding project.

And when we read biographies of heroic writers of the past, we learn that all good artists doubt their own work.

However, despite all this, I still think that many aspiring writers make art harder than it has to be.

This is because these writers can't forgive themselves.

And I don't think we grasp just how damaging this habit is. Often, we think we are being a serious, thoughtful person -- by making ourselves spin in circles.

But I truly believe this: you will never become the writer you were meant to be if you cannot, on some level, let go -- especially during the early stages.

This video tries to explain the mistake you may be making with your first draft.

It offers a practical lesson. After we meet a very confused parent, we will discuss five work habits that will help you write a (relatively) low-stress draft of your novel. 

There are so many ways to break the habit of pointless self-criticism. 

This video teaches you how to 

  • stop getting trapped revising last week's work
  • start playing Demi Lovato on repeat
  • learn to skip over plot holes and narrative gaps
  • enjoy writing again

If you have ever struggled to stay focused and finish your draft (or your revision), I think this video will help.

A picture of me, Daniel Wallace

Thank you for watching!

Now let's write!

Are you ready to write? 

If you enjoyed the video, and would like to try those techniques out, now it's time to actually get writing, but in a self-forgiving way. 

I've prepared a printable worksheet for you to download. 

Click the yellow button, below, to access the printable.


PS Now, just to let you know what's coming, when you click the link, you'll see a request from me -- I'm asking a small favour in return for sharing my writing and the worksheet. 

It's simply this: to help me spread the word. I would love it if you told one other person about the above video.

I am a very good writer, and a very good teacher, but I tend to struggle at advertising, so I would really appreciate a quick share on social media. 

Thank you!

What other writers say:

I wish I had taken a class like this sooner.

"With Daniel's scene instruction workshop, I was able to write more quickly and competently. He created a path for writing my chapters. Using his scene maps, I understood the scene I was crafting and how it functioned within the framework of my novel. He created a path for writing my chapters, and I could focus on both the narrative and character arcs simultaneously. I wish I had taken a class like this sooner. I would've been a better novelist and my short story production would've been much larger."

JOHN VURRO //  Writer

Julia Brown testimonial

Daniel’s courses are chock full of useful information.

"Not all good writers are good teachers, but Daniel David Wallace (a talented, thoughtful writer himself) is a terrific instructor. If you can take a class with him, do it!"

JULIA BROWN //  Editor and author

tawni waters bio pic

Is it weird that I think of him as my literary midwife? Because I totally do.

"Daniel respected my work and vision on a profound level but also had a keen editorial eye and a stroke of literary genius that took everything I’d written to the next level."

TAWNI WATERS  // Award-Winning Author of The Long Ride Home & Beauty of the Broken

Why this method works

​When I began my PhD, I was not in a happy place.

I needed to show everyone how clever I was.

I insisted on handing in to workshop only my best possible work.

But the more I studied the science of skill acquisition, the more I understood that I had been making a huge mistake. In other words, the more I demanded that I produce great work, the worse it was for my writing life.

I came to believe that many, many writers were damaging their potential by not writing enough. And the only way to write enough is to forgive yourself for the imperfect sentences appearing on the page.

Join the Seminar

More videos are coming. 

During this "novel writing seminar," I'll share techniques and printable worksheets for:

  • picking a good narrator for your story
  • creating a protagonist who takes action
  • avoiding stress and blockages
  • knowing when to STOP researching
  • building an outline with boxes and arrows

These are the same techniques I've taught to dozens of writers.

It's a comprehensive, free course for aspiring novelists.

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