Best-selling thriller writer Ian Rankin writes a book a year. At a certain point, usually at the end of the first month, he is struck by "the fear." He becomes convinced that all the work he's done so far has been a waste of time, that this new book won’t be any good. When he mentions this to his wife, she usually asks, "Are you on page 65?" He then realizes that he goes through this phase with every novel, always at the same point. Many writers experience this kind of doubt about their work. And, as writing is such a lonely profession, they don't all have someone with whom they can share their frustrations.

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Novelists love stories and are often motivated to write by the effects a story can have on a reader. There's a real power in being able to touch the emotions of someone, a stranger, who lives far away or even far in the future. What better reason is there to write than to inspire others to follow their dreams? And yet, too many authors waste that opportunity. They confuse their reader with awkward phrasing, distract with careless typos, or turn off a potential buyer with a poor quality product.

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