Tom Schreck: The One Hour A Day Novelist: The Two Biggest Obstacles to Completing Your Novel

Hey folks! Time for the third part of Tom Schreck’s ongoing series on writing and being a working author. In addition to being the author of five books, he is has written for a wide variety of publications including The Business Review,, American Health and Fitness, Professional Counselor and Catfancy:

The Two Biggest Obstacles to Completing Your Novel

Ninety-nine percent of the people who want to write don’t.

It’s not because their idea isn’t good enough.

It’s not because their ability to plot is inadequate.

And it certainly isn’t because they don’t have the grammar skills.

The two biggest blocks to writing the novel are easy:

Fear and Doubt.

Nothing else comes close.

I’m not saying everyone can write a bestseller or even a good book but everyone certainly can start, finish and publish a book.

I ran a marathon once. It was a pain-in-the-ass process and I didn’t achieve any spiritual nirvana-like enlightenment from doing it. Mostly it took up a lot of time and made my body hurt.

Training was simple—not easy—but simple. I ran a lot. I built up my mileage and made sure I did increasingly longer runs every other week. First six, than eight, than ten and up to 20. Then on the day of the race I ran 26.2.

Writing a book is about putting in your time just like marathon training.

It involves sitting down almost every day and typing. All you have to do is make shit up and form it into a story.

The physical activity of writing a novel obviously isn’t difficult. You sit and type, right?

It’s the emotions that interfere.

Our emotions can usually be tracked by paying real close attention to our own self-talk. When you find a reason to not work on your book I’m guessing you are telling yourself some of this shit:

I suck, this sucks and it is freakin’ stupid to think I can write a damn book.

I never finish anything. I’m certainly not going to see this through so why bother?

I don’t know what to write next so I don’t want to write this next part and than throw it out—that would be a waste of time and I definitely can’t waste my time!

Now, before you think this is all about your self-esteem, hold on. A good portion of the shit you’re going to tell yourself falls in to the lazy-ass, self-defeating category. Sometimes you have to kick your own ass to get going.

Are you saying?

I don’t want to get up an hour earlier—that would be uncomfortable!

I don’t want to fight through my own inadequate feelings—it would be easier to eat chocolate and complain.

This shit is too hard—it should come to me instantly so I’m going to wait until all this magic unfolds in my brain.


There’s another category. For some reason we think we should only do stuff that we excel at. Why play basketball if you can’t beat Michael Jordan? Why run a 5k unless you can win it? Why sing unless you can be Elvis?

The answer to this faulty logic?

Because it’s freakin’ fun! Not freaking fun like a trip to Six Flags but fun like “Wow—this project has me thinking all day through my boring job and it’s going to a place I didn’t imagine!”

Getting vitally absorbed in something bigger than yourself is what gives life meaning according to Victor Frankle. A novel is bigger than you and getting sucked into writing it is intoxicating. Go for it!

How do you get around these feelings and all the negative self-talk? Well my masters degree in psych had a cool expression—“Act against the belief.”

In other words—don’t give a rat’s ass about the bullshit your mind tries to tell you. Do what you want despite how it feels.

It’s not more complicated than that—unless you want to make it more complicated.

Tom Schreck writes the Duffy Dombrowski Mysteries and his newest release THE VEGAS KNOCKOUT has just been releaesd. Visit and “like” his fan page on Facebook at for a chance to win a Kindle Fire.