The greatest hack ever for novel writing

. 2 min read

I’m currently in the process of writing my second full-length novel that, when finished, I’ll probably consider the opus magnum of everything I’ve written thus far. (This statement will most likely change the moment I’ll begin writing the third novel, and then again with the fourth, and so on.) But writing isn’t easy. It’s far from easy! It requires so much discipline and self-control! Having said that, the feeling that comes with having written and having a finished story is worth all the trouble. Without that feeling I wouldn’t write. (Regardless of what Nassim Taleb thinks.)

For me, writing as a process is not the problem. Overcoming the fear of sudden incompetence when returning to the manuscript after a while, sometimes just 12 hours, is. I rationally know this is just Steven Pressfield’s Resistance talking in my head and trying to stop me from even trying - “you don’t know how to do it anymore”, “the plot isn’t going anywhere”, “Thomas is still only a supporting character”, “you won’t get it right”, and so on. As an answer to this problem of mine that I probably share with a few people, I stumbled upon a cute little hack to overcome it. And now I’m going to say it. Here it is:

Turn on the computer and open the file on the page where you last left off.

This works like magic, I’m not kidding. Naturally I can’t tell how it’ll work for you but for me, the moment I see the manuscript and the last page I’ve written, something happens in my brain and soon enough, I’m sitting down and writing. And it’s not even poor or forced stuff that comes out, nor does the plot go to a dead end. (That’s probably the best part about writing your own stuff, you can solve any plot issue anyway you want.) My fingers just start clicking away. Soon there are 1000 more words on the count.

It’s not always pure gold. Actually, it rarely is. But it’s 1000 words more than an hour ago.

It’s the law of large numbers. Quantity over quality, at least in an attitudinal sense. If you make fifty pieces of pottery, one of them is likely to be a masterpiece.

And how would I improve if I let Resistance stop me from trying?