There are myths that prevent you from not only completing your story, but keep you from even getting started. Some of these myths are concocted by the world out there, and some are vague terrors that dwell within. Here are a few:
1) I can’t be a writer without an MFA in fiction.
Tolstoy never got an MFA. Neither did the Bronte sisters. The story lives in your imagination. Trust it. Sometimes what you need is to give yourself permission to write.
2) I can’t write my first draft until I complete my research.
What we care about in your story are the characters and how their lives intersect and influence each other. Once you’ve completed your first draft, you can do a deep dive into the 17th century Greek architecture that your protagonist obsesses over.
Research is important, and it’s also misunderstood. We are more interested in the characters in relationship to each other than we are in the minutiae. It’s not that we won’t ever care about the details, but the research process AFTER you have written the first draft is far simpler than the one that precedes it.
Then you can have more clarity. You’ll see what research is necessary to provide the world with the stink of reality.
3) I can’t write this until my parents die.
Every writer fears the fallout of telling the truth on the page, regardless of whether it is fiction or non-fiction. As Anne Lamott says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
The only thing between you and your dream is a deep breath. There.
Learn more about marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of structure in The 90-Day Novel, The 90-Day Memoir, or The 90-Day Screenplay workshops.