Challenges Make Stories Interesting

When I decided to share my writing journey, I thought it would be easy to share my weekly progress of my smoothly going writing process with some tips until I finish my novel and celebrate the success.

I was wrong.

After I chose the topic and wrote the entire story outline, an initial character study, and the first paragraph, I stopped. I was facing two problems.

First Problem: Doubt And The Fear Of Failure.

I had many doubts and thoughts like, “What if I made the wrong choice? Should I really be writing a novel? What if I failed?”

I was facing uncertainty again. I had to face my fears and admit that my fears might be valid.

Someone might nominate me as the worst writer of the century, or nobody would purchase or read any of my books. I might not be good at writing a novel, and switching to another genre would be better. All of my fears could be true or the opposite. None of that might happen as well.

To transform that uncertainty into certainty, one should try. Sometimes, our first try won’t get us the result we aspire to. That’s when we should try again while considering our mistakes as feedback that helps us to improve and adjust.

 Ultimately, it might turn out that this thing is not suitable for us, and it’s okay. We are not all destined to succeed in the same areas, but we will never know unless we try.

Now let’s proceed with the second problem.

Second Problem: Placing a high standard right from the start

My favorite writer is Gibran Khalil Gibran, and I adore some of Mikhail Neaimi’s writings.

But had they always been that good? And are all of their works equally nice?

No.

When reading for the same writer, you cannot help but notice the change in their writing. People do not remain the same. Nothing in the entire universe remains the same. Nature develops, and so we do as humans.  

Let me rephrase my problem with simpler words: I wanted to write something perfect and incredible like Gibran Khalil Gibran did and didn’t know how to do so, so I didn’t.

To solve this problem, I had to change my thoughts.  

First, instead of saying that I wanted to write a perfect novel, I said I wanted to write the first draft of my novel.

We make first drafts for mistakes. They are the raw material on which we can build. We don’t worry about the style and grammar mistakes because we can still adjust later.

Second, instead of saying that I want to write something perfect like Gibran Khalil Gibran’s writings, my intention became:” I want to express myself and discover my writing voice.”

I am not Gibran Khalil Gibran. I didn’t live his life and didn’t go through the same incidents that shaped him. We are two different people from two eras sharing a few things like our love for Lebanon. Comparing myself to such a great talent when I’m just starting would ruin my attempt to create.

Let’s conclude!

First, facing our fears doesn’t have to be huge, like jumping off a plane. We can meet our fears through simple slow steps.

Second, the only person we should compare to is us between the past and now because no matter how we want to be like someone, we cannot because each is unique.

Putting standards to meet is essential, but more important is ensuring that those same standards are not so high, which makes them impossible to reach.

My writing journey won’t be easy as I expected, just like stories that wouldn’t exist had they not had challenges to overcome.

Ninette Abi Atallah


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