There is no one single "right" way to write a novel. Some people are plotters and some, like me are pantsers. At first, I didn’t realize this. I thought you had to do everything a certain way.
That made writing look like such a daunting task. When I think of outlining, plot structure, and word counts it makes me balk. "I can’t write 80k words! No. I just can’t do it!" The thing is, you can do it. I did. Several times in fact.
Writing doesn’t have to be hard. The biggest lesson I had to learn was to relax and not focus on the end result. That’s the thing that stops a new writer from finishing a story. When you’re on word 1 and you have 79,999 more to go to reach your goal, you feel like you’ll never make it. And that’s just the writing it down part. Beyond that you have characters to invent. Those characters need backstories and lives of their own. They need names and jobs and families. Trying to plan that all out and get it all down on paper is enough to make you go insane.
It took me 5 years to finish Immortalis. I kept forcing myself into the little box of plotting out everything down to the smallest detail and then hating where the story went. My characters wouldn’t talk to me, and all because it was in my outline, I kept trying to make them do things that didn’t feel right. Then when a chapter would end before my scheduled word count, I would try to force a chapter past its point. I ended up adding in too much unnecessary detail, because I felt each chapter needed to be a specific length.
Eventually, I set the manuscript aside, frustrated with it. While I let that one settle, I allowed myself to "free write," not caring if the story made sense or if it was ever going to be read by anyone. You know what I found out? My muse doesn’t like to be boxed in. I could write thousands upon thousands of words when I removed the limitations of a formal outline and dropped my word count goals. Some authors need that structure and that is great for them. Me, I needed freedom. And I bet a lot of others need it too.
So now, whenever I see a new writer saying, "Oh, I can’t write. It’s too hard." I tell them the same thing. Just relax. Don’t worry about the end result. Get your story on paper the way you want it. After that, you can worry about "fixing" things. If you can’t get past the initial draft, you will never finish it and make yourself frustrated.