Coming Up With Ideas Is the Easy Part | The Blank Page

There’s a reason we tend to struggle so much with shifting from the idea stage of a project to the execution stage.

The Blank Page is a new weekly series on Novelty Revisions dedicated to any writer who is just beginning their journey or starting again after a long pause. Check back every Monday for more tips and inspiration.


The thing that pushed me over the edge and convinced me to purchase my first violin wasn’t an expected catalyst.

No one talked me into it. Watching and listening to violinists didn’t convince me. Nope — it was the fact that I started writing violin music in my head (because that’s totally normal …) and couldn’t do a single thing about it. The only way to write violin music — to get it out of my head and onto paper, so to speak — was to learn to play the instrument first.

As you can imagine, playing the violin is much harder than humming snippets of melodies into a voice recording app on your phone. When I first started learning — practicing at least five days a week to keep myself motivated — I knew it would be hard. I actually didn’t expect it to be as challenging as it was, and still is.

There’s a reason we tend to struggle so much with shifting from the idea stage of a project to the execution stage. When it comes to writing, idea generation is sometimes, seemingly, effortless. Stories and plot points and characters sometimes just appear out of nowhere.

But if you’re going to put any of your ideas into words, you actually have to figure out how to act on those ideas. You actually have to … write.

And for some reason, that seems to be the toughest part of it all.

Continue reading “Coming Up With Ideas Is the Easy Part | The Blank Page”

Use This Time to Play With Your Ideas — Even If You Write Absolutely Nothing

There are a lot of people feeling pressured to write right now. It’s OK if you do. It’s OK if you don’t.

There are a lot of people feeling pressured to write right now.

But I’m here to tell you that it’s OK if you don’t. You can. But it’s not a tragedy or failure if you don’t.

I know this is a blog about writing, and I will always encourage anyone and everyone to write if that’s what they want to do (hey, even if they don’t think they want to, too). But it’s a weird time. Also the perfect time to offer some encouragement to anyone who feels they suddenly have to write more when they’re not quite prepared for that.

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12 Truths Too Many Writers Often Forget

2. It’s OK to feel afraid.

1. You don’t have to have your name on a bestselling novel to be considered a successful writer. Success comes in many forms. There is more than one path to your own personal finish line.

2. It’s OK to feel afraid. Fear can act as a writer’s greatest strength, as long as they use it to their advantage.

3. Having an audience isn’t what counts. It’s how you treat your audience and your willingness to help and support them that matters.

4. Your work is not a measure of your worth. You’re still worthy even when you don’t succeed.

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Writers: Just Relax. It Will Change Your Life.

You might not know it, but you generally do just about everything better when you’re relaxed.

You might not know it, but you generally do just about everything better when you’re relaxed.

When I took voice lessons in college, my instructors spent more time telling me to relax (physically) than just about anything else. I clench and tighten my jaw a lot because of my anxiety, and you can’t actually sing properly without loosening your jaw. I quite literally had to start going to therapy to improve my mental health so that I could physically relax enough to perform correctly. (It helped with other things, obviously, but … you know.)

Years later when I started trying to teach myself the violin, I couldn’t figure out why I was struggling so much to get the proper techniques down. It turns out I still tense up every single muscle in my body when I’m doing things. That makes playing an instrument extremely difficult, too.

Thankfully at that point I had strategies in place to fix a problem like this.

So the next time I played, I relaxed my shoulders, my hands, my wrists. I closed my eyes, took in a few deep breaths. Then I just … went for it.

It wasn’t great, don’t get me wrong. That kind of positioning shift doesn’t just magically enhance your skill level. But it was the first time I could actually go about it the right way. The minute I relaxed, the easier it became to follow through on what I was trying to learn.

The same idea applies to writing, though not just in a physical sense.

Continue reading “Writers: Just Relax. It Will Change Your Life.”

Writing Things You’ll Never Publish Isn’t Wasteful — It’s Essential

Not everything you write is going to be worthy of publishing — and that’s OK.

Last year, I wrote 1 million words. I haven’t done the math yet, but I’m pretty confident at least 500,000 of those words have yet to be read by anyone but me.

2019 was one of my biggest years of growth as a writer in almost a decade. In writing as much as I did, I learned a lot about my voice, what I do and don’t enjoy writing about, and the kinds of stories I’ve spent many years acting too afraid to tell.

There are many people out there who are probably itching to tell me that those 500,000 unpublished words were a total waste of time. Why write something no one else is going to see?

Here’s what I have to say to those people.

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You Will Fail in a Thousand Different Ways

Growing up, most of us were conditioned to believe failure was the worst thing that could ever happen to us.

Ask any writer what they are most afraid of, and every single one will answer with some variant of several very similar truths.

Some will say they’re afraid everyone who has ever told them they’re good at storytelling has been lying to their face their whole lives.

Others will admit they’re scared of never having what it takes to “make it.”

And still, others will tell you what scares them most is never going after what they really want. Spending their whole lives playing it too safe, never taking the risk, always wondering what might have happened if they’d just gone for it.

What’s the one thing all these worries have in common?

Every single one involves failure. The fear of never being good enough. The reality that you might work your whole life trying to achieve something and never actually do it.

Growing up, most of us were conditioned to believe failure was the worst thing that could ever happen to us.

We were taught to fear it when we should have been told to run toward it with all our strength.

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10 Things Writers Should Say to Each Other More Often

4. “How are you?”

1. “I want to read one thing you’ve written recently. Send me something you’re super proud of.”

2. “What made you want to become a writer? I want to hear your story.”

3. “Can I buy your book/Pledge $1 to your Patreon/Tweet out a link to something you published recently?”

4. “How are you?” (Sometimes we’re so focused on asking writers about their writing that we forget to ask writers how they’re doing outside of writing.)

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All the Things You’ll Worry About | The Blank Page

You’ll worry. But you shouldn’t. You’ll worry, but you don’t have to let it control you.

The Blank Page is a new weekly series on Novelty Revisions dedicated to any writer who is just beginning their journey or starting again after a long pause. Check back every Monday for more tips and inspiration.


Starting something new is hard.

Sticking with it for the long-term is even harder.

As you’re learning to write, and as you’re figuring out how writing fits into your life, you’re going to find yourself worrying about a lot of things. This is normal. But it doesn’t have to ruin your dreams.

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If You Want to Write a Certain Story, You Should Write It

You don’t want to always wonder what might have happened if you’d told the stories on your heart.

When I was growing up and working hard to refine my writing and storytelling skills, I came across a handful of story ideas I actively avoided pursuing. Not because I didn’t want to write them, but because I was afraid of what might happen if I did.

There were many layers to this. But probably the most relatable to those reading this right now is that I was worried other people wouldn’t be interested in or like the stories I had in mind.

There were stories I wanted to tell, things I wanted to write about, but I didn’t. For some reason I was convinced that drawing on my personal experience and creating characters I could relate to wasn’t going to translate to a larger audience. And that held me back for a very long time.

Even though I’m still slowly working my way up to sharing some of these stories — not my stories specifically, just a collection of characters I can’t get out of my head because of our shared experiences — when I look back on all the years I spent saying “no,” I very much wish I’d just said “yes.”

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12 Reasons Writing Isn’t As Easy As You Thought It Would Be

2. Writing takes more time than you’d expect.

1. It’s easy to forget that most of the published books and articles you’ve read have been rewritten, edited, and polished multiple times over. It doesn’t come out perfectly the first time!

2. Writing takes more time than you’d expect. Even experts can’t always do it quickly — because writing isn’t always about how fast you can go, but how efficiently you can use the time you have.

3. Schedules are hard. It’s hard to stick to a set routine with something like writing when it isn’t technically something you “have” to do.

4. You’ve never heard a writer actually talk about what it’s really like to “be” a writer.

Continue reading “12 Reasons Writing Isn’t As Easy As You Thought It Would Be”