For many aspiring writers, the most daunting part of writing a novel is simply getting started. Feeling like you have to know everything before you begin can be paralyzing. Trust me, you don't have to know everything. You don't have to have a great outline or a perfect one-sentence premise or a clear idea of your character arc.

Here are three simple steps to get past whatever is holding you back and finally start writing your novel:

  1. Schedule a 30-minute brainstorming session on your calendar, and commit to filling one handwritten page. Schedule it for some time within the next five days.
  2. Show up for your brainstorming session. Show up at your desk, your coffee shop, your favorite chair. Get the pen and the paper out. At the top of the page, make 3 columns: WHO, WHAT, WHERE
  3. Fill each column. WHO is your main character? (Don’t worry about complete sentences or beautiful language. Just jot down as much as you know about him or her). WHAT does your main character want, and WHAT obstacle stands in the way? WHERE does the story take place?

That’s it! Do it this week. Not next week or the week after that. It’s just 30 minutes. You can do it…I promise!

Do you need help writing your first chapter, understanding your protagonist, and getting your novel off to a great start? Join Novel Writing Master Class 1, the first course in my comprehensive online Online Novel Writing Master Class Series.

If you prefer deadlines and accountability, join my flagship course, NOVEL IN NINE, which provides weekly video and written lessons, weekly email reminders, assignment checklists, and monthly word count check-ins to help you write and revise your novel in nine months. Sign up for NOVEL IN NINE.