You know the saying, "What's the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time." That is also how you write a novel. One word at a time.
I have been writing my whole life. And I love it. Absolutely love it, in fact.
Until two years ago I had started probably over a hundred stories, but I had never finished one. Yes, I was slacking. But then I had a lot of free time on my hands when all I could do was sit and think (so actually, NOT free time.) Baby #3 didn't like to sleep for the first nine months of life, so we spent a lot of time in the dark, by ourselves, when I could do nothing but daydream.
I came up with such a fantastic story. I loved it. I loved all the characters. I had the whole thing, from start to finish, in my head. And I thought, "Hey, now that baby is sleeping for an hour a night so I'm not totally zombie-ish, I should write this down."
Just a side note - starting a story when you have a brand new baby is not really a brilliant idea.
I started it. Then I quit because I was too tired. And then I picked it up again. And then I quit because I just didn't think I could really finish it. I mean, really? Who did that?
But I had a writer friend who dragged me to her critique group, and in order to have stuff to critique every month I had to keep writing.
And then I realized: I was almost done.
So then I really picked it up. I wrote every time anyone would leave me alone for even two seconds. The day I finished it I sat there in shock for like fifteen minutes, and then I wandered around wanting to tell everyone and make everyone read it right away. It was such an incredible feeling.
The reason I was able to write it and finish it, when I had never finished anything else, was because I believed in the story. I loved the story. The characters would bounce around in my head telling me to write their story if I tried to quit.And the way I finished it? One bite at a time.