This blog was featured on 07/28/2016
Writing Tip: Just Keep Going
Written by
Maria Murnane
December 2015
Written by
Maria Murnane
December 2015


When I'm working on the first draft of a novel, at times it can feel like I'm pushing an enormous boulder up a mountain. Have you ever had that feeling? It's during those periods that I have to trust what I've learned over the course of writing multiple books, which is that I have to keep going. So day after day I force myself to sit down and inch the story along, however slowly, because I know that by doing so, I will eventually reach the end. 

Moving the story forward is the key to finishing the first draft. When I was writing my first novel, I spent far too much time tweaking what I'd already written instead of advancing the plot. At the time I thought that approach was a good use of my creative energy, but looking back I realize it was a form of mental procrastination. As a result it took me MUCH longer to finish that book than any of the ones I've written since. Now I don't go back and tweak or do any form of rewriting until I'm pretty much done with the (always rough, sometimes ugly) first pass. I still edit along the way, but I try to avoid anything major until the basic framework of the story is complete. 

Believe me, there have been many occasions where I've had to tell myself "Maria, this book isn't going to write itself!" just to get myself to sit down in front of my computer. But I keep pushing that boulder up the mountain, slowly but steadily, because I know how great it will feel when I reach the top and get to watch that first draft roll down the other side and (eventually) turn into a fully formed novel.


Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services to aspiring and published authors. Have questions? You can find her at


This blog post originally appeared on Reprinted with permission. © 2015 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • Melissa Albert on YA, Relationships & Resilience
  • Karen McManus on Poking Holes & Finding Your...
  • Sara Shepard on Writing YA, Writer's Block and...
  • Holly Black on Fantasy, Faeries & Advice
  • Colleen Hoover on Unconventional Beginnings &...
  • Cynthia Hand on Emotions & Studying Writing

  • Jeanne Nicholas

    I joined a critique club while writing the last few chapters of my book.  They started critiquing 10 pages of the first chapters (every two weeks) while I'm still writing the last 6 chapters.  I thought it would give me a head start to correcting grammer etc.  And although it has cleaned up my writing for my initial 20 twenty chapters I almost feel as if the final twenty chapters are going to be rewritten lol.  I'm down to writing the final three chapters and I will get them out but I know already the 2nd version is going to take some time to work out.  Booo. What a bummer.

  • RYCJ Revising

    I can certainly relate. I recall working on proposals where the practice of pushing forward and revising later worked marvels.

    Admittedly I've tried to apply the same approach to novel writing but with a little over 20 novels beneath me, yielding a different writing experience for each, I must admit to having reservations. No exaggeration, after writing one novel in almost 10 tries @ 70,000 word clips for each, I am reluctant to continue the practice. Currently I only push forward without looking back, if (and only if) I'm in step (or enjoying) the story and characters. It still pains me to have that many 'un-useable' stories all for naught. And yes, I've plucked bits and pieces out of them to use in other work... but STILL!

  • Mardith Louisell

    Amen. Same with difficult short stories. Get there and then revise revise revise and, one hopes, finish eventually.