Are you ready to take the leap into actually writing your novel?

Are you ready to take the leap into actually writing your novel?

I remember when I was attempting my first story with the help of a course — a correspondence Writer’s Digest course. Remember those?

Recently single, 28 years old, trying to embrace my dreams, I wanted to write fiction, but I was scared, nervous, and had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

I dove into the course, wrote part of a story about the first architect of Notre Dame of Paris — a fictitious character because no one knows who designed the cathedral — and then stopped. To this day, the story has no plot to speak of and remains unfinished.

I’ve had many false starts since then.

For a time, I thought there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t follow through and finish a story.

Now I know that there’s lots of factors about being able to start and finish a story. And, there’s nothing wrong with me.

Learning to follow through was a habit I developed over time. In fact, it took me 5 years to complete my first novel.

That was in 2003. Since then, I’ve written and finished 16 novels — three I’ve published, plus five novellas in two separate genres. I have a 4-book series in progress in a third genre right now and have lots of stories in various stages. I’ve also written and published three nonfiction books and hundreds of articles.

In the intervening years, I’ve discovered that there are many factors involved in being able to start and finish a first novel, and each subsequent novel.

Here they are:

Readiness: Are you ready to dive into that new story that’s been whispering to you? Sometimes we’re not ready for one of the following reasons. And that’s okay. All that matters is taking the next step that you are ready for. There’s always a next step, no matter how small. Take that.

Commitment: Do you feel it in your gut or heart or body that you’re ready to do this — write the novel — and go to distance, no matter the ups and downs?

Sometimes other things take precedence over our writing. Totally understandable. And, if you’d really like to be writing but aren’t, I recommend meditating (or journaling) on this notion of commitment to the project no matter what.

Life will always throw us curveballs. Your job as a writer is to show up for it all, including your art.

You’ll know you’re committed when you find ways to show up for your writing, even in the midst of the whirlwind of life.

Willingness to take a risk: It is scary to write a novel. It take courage to face the unknown of creativity and learning how to write a novel. I know too that you can do it because you have the yearning within you.

What is your risky next step you need to take?

Emotional Readiness: In our stories, we often must do bad things to our sweet, good characters. When I first realized that with the help of my critique partners, I gulped and knew they were right. Then I had to go about building a thicker skin and increasing my knowledge on how to actually do that putting my characters in danger and facing their worst fears.

Connect to your heart and be kind to yourself. I’m not suggesting you bully yourself to get to the page, to your writing. Just the contrary.

Often what writers need more of is compassion for all the feelings, that once acknowledged, you can transform into stories.

Being ready in your heart is a very personal decision and stems from compassion for self, I believe, and for all your potential readers who one day will benefit from your stories.

Knowledge: Writing fiction is not easy. It’s unlike any other kind of writing — essays, articles, speeches, etc. When I seriously started writing fiction, I’d written over 60 articles, but fiction was a foreign territory. So, I set about learning all I could about writing fiction, including writing (that’s first; we learn writing by writing), joining a critique group, getting feedback on my writing, and joining a community of like-minded people.

What knowledge do you need? Character development? Plot and story structure? World building? Connecting all the pieces of a story to make it work as a whole? Editing? Marketing and promotions?

Writers are life-long learners. What is your heart calling for you to learn? What are you curious about mastering?

What are you ready for? What are your next steps?

Comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear.

On the subject of knowledge, and because I’m a teacher, and because I’m passionate about helping writers become novelists, I wanted to be sure you knew about our latest course coming up, in case you’re ready to actually start working on your novel.

For many writers, they don’t know where to start because they don’t have a roadmap.

What if you could follow a roadmap to planning your novel that respects your need for flexibility?

Then join us for our 4th Annual Plan Your Novel: 30-Day Writing Challenge Live course starting next week.

Dates: October 1-31, 2017 (A bonus day this year!)

This course is for:
Experienced writers or ambitious new writers who want to plan their novel in an organic or step-by-step way, so that on November 1st you can start writing it alongside the NaNoWriMo community.

(NaNoWriMo stands for national Novel Writing Month and is a month-long free “competition” to write a 50,000-word novel. Thousands of people around the world participate each year.)


  • Novels, novellas, and short stories
  • Genres like mystery, thriller, romance, suspense, fantasy, science fiction, women’s fiction, and mash-ups of these
  • For Adult, Young Adult, New Adult, and Middle Grade Readers

This course will cover:

Week 1: Elevator Pitch & Short Synopsis
Week 2: Get to Know Your Main Characters
Week 3: Story Plot & World Building
Week 4: Scene-by-Scene Outline & Plotting

With this live course, you’ll get:

  • Weekly email prompts to get you writing.
  • 5 live video group teaching webinars with the instructors (5 Tuesdays in October 2017)
  • Step-by-step instructions and examples — Handouts, Templates, Checklists, Videos, Audios, and Quizzes (Lifetime access!)
  • A private Facebook group with the students and instructors for community, support, and accountability

With this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Believe that you can write a novel because you thought through all the pieces
  • Step into a sense of satisfaction and creative accomplishment
  • Get excited for NaNoWriMo
  • Plan your novel! 🙂

For more information and how to register for this October course, go here:

— Be sure to use your coupon code if you have one!

Class size limited to 30 people.

Registration closes Oct. 1st.

Register here:

BONUS: Sign up by Sept. 30, 2017 and get the bonus course, “Create Compelling Characters.” ($80 value)

Questions or comments, let me know. And if you’re not sure if this course is right for you, contact me and let me know and we can chat about it.

Here’s to your creativity! Happy writing!

All my best,

PS. We’re only taking 30 students for this course, and enrollment closes Oct. 1st, so if you know that now is the right time, sign up here:


Award-winning novelist in YA fantasy, Master NLP Practitioner and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany’s courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. Beth runs the Writer’s Fun Zone blog, for and by creative writers, where you can download her free reports on book marketing and novel writing. She is also the author of The Writer’s Adventure Guide, Overcome Writer’s Block, and Twitter for Authors.


Ezra Barany started his career of freaking out readers with his suspense and thriller stories in college. In March 2011, Ezra unleashed his first novel The Torah Codes, which became an award-winning international bestseller. In his free time, he has eye-opening discussions on the art of writing novels with his wife and book coach, Beth Barany. A physics teacher, Ezra lives in Oakland with his beloved wife, working on the third book in The Torah Codes series.

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