WRITING A BOOK
So, you fancy being a writer. I could say to you, what on earth for; ha ha? But then again I am more likely to say, hey that’s great, go for it. Why the latter, because as an author myself, I love writing. It’s true. I can write about just anything; whether it’s fiction or non-
Now, having decided you want to write my next question is, what are you going to write about? Okay, maybe you have an idea, and just maybe you have a story rolling around in your head? If you do… that’s great. But, what if you are having a problem getting started with your writing? Wondering where you begin.
Well, wonder no more as in today’s podcast I am going to offer you some tips which will hopefully be useful, and will help you get started into writing. So, here we go:
The first thing you have to do is beat that overwhelming feeling every new writer has when they first sit down to write a story. That moment when you think, this is it. I am going to have to sit here and write something. Will it work? Will it turn out okay? Will it all make sense? Will it read well?
Wow! That’s a lot to worry about isn’t it. So, stop right there. There is no need for these doubts. Let’s see what I can suggest you do about getting rid of those feelings?
Before you start your writing, you need to know what your subject theme is. In order to get your story flowing in the right way you also need to remember that you only write one chapter at a time. Most writers know this. But, if you don’t have a plan of action as to which way your story is going to go then it won’t make sense will it.
So, the first thing you do is research your storyline. This will include the basics of what your story is about. Who your characters are, including the protagonist, antagonist, second and third characters, etc., and finally a rough idea of the main scenes or events within the story.
Once you have all this information gathered together then you can start writing. Remember these rules are used for nearly every type pf writing. Oh! And don’t forget to keep saving your work to the computer, if using one, or keep those paper copies safe.
Having started your writing you will want some feedback, just to be sure in your mind that you are going the right way. If you want, and are feeling daring enough, why not share your story with readers to test the water, so to speak. You can do this online through places such as Wattpad, share each chapter with a chosen number of email list subscribers, or with close friends.
To get into the writing habit we suggest you begin by writing a shorter book. The idea of writing a large or epic novel can be quite daunting. So try writing a book of poems, or short stories. The idea is for you to get used to writing in general. It will help you focus, especially if you are not sure where you are heading with your tale, as you can get lost on the way. That is of course unless you have planned your story out exceptionally well during the research and planning stages. Therefore, we suggest, when beginning to write, start small.
Another way to share your new writing is to start a blog and put some of your writing on there. This will allow you to get early feedback. Getting some feedback on your writing early on can often help break up those overwhelming feelings of doubt. You could set up a website on say WordPress or Tumblr and use it to show how you are writing your book, a chapter or scene at a time. Delete after say a month as you will probably change the story once the feedback starts flowing in. Once you have finished you can eventually publish the whole story as a print or electronic book and change this part of your website with details and links to purchasing your new book, or by starting a new one.
Try and remain creative. To do this you should keep an inspiration list. Having such a list will allow you to keep any fresh ideas flowing. Make sure to read it constantly. There are various systems both online and off which you can adapt to capture, organise the content. This way if you need to find something relevant to your story you will know exactly where it is. Some writers use something like Scrivener or Evernote, but any system that works for you is fine.
If you decide to write a travelling story or book why not keep a journal. This will allow you to rewrite the entries in a much more polished book format later. You can also use photocopies or scans of the journal pages as illustrations within the book. And even sell ‘deluxe’ editions that come with photocopied versions of the journal.
Always to your best to be consistent in your writing. There will be days when you will find it’s easy to write, but others when it’s incredibly hard. To be honest -
One of the hardest things to do when you first start to write is to stay focused. But even so, it is also important that you take frequent breaks. It is said that there is one main reason why we to procrastinate and that is because it rewards us with temporary relief from stress. So, if you start feeling stressed about your unfinished book, you will start to disrupt your writing schedule. And we don’t want that, do we. The best thing to counteract this, is to plan your breaks ahead of time in order stay fresh. These should be minute breaks, hourly breaks, and perhaps even multiple day breaks.
Worrying about doing or finishing your writing makes the craft less fun; and if there is one thing I always get my mentee's to remember it is that writing should be fun, fun, fun.
Try to remove distractions whenever possible. Perhaps looks at tools such as Ommwriter, Bywordapp or Scrivener, as they let you write in a totally distraction free environment. At least that way your flow won’t be interrupted by the emails, Facebook, or Twitter will they.
Another great way to be comfortable in your writing mode is to vary the place where you write. Try writing in places where others are writing (or working). If writing consistently by yourself is proving to be hard, well go and write in a coffee shop or a library. In fact go somewhere where other people are actually working, not just socialising as the atmosphere can really help your mind focus. Being in a place where things are getting done can give you the mindset to join them.
Above all please don’t tweak as you go along. Instead of tweaking try and write the first draft without judging it. Only amend if it is relevant that earlier chapters need to be changed because you have amended the way the storyline is going. Remember, with anything else you can go back and edit later. Not only will you keep a better flow, but you won’t be interrupted by constantly criticising your own work. Besides, you’ll have a lot more time to concentrate on the writing already done by then.
I hope you have found this podcast helpful but don’t forget while its okay to talk about writing a book, until you actually sit down and start doing it there will never be one. And, of course, once you do start writing well that is when you can start calling yourself a writer.
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