What if there were 3 easy ways to start writing a book? Would you start?
Over 200 million people want to write a book. But only a few million books are published. Maybe you’ve read a great story and you think you could write one too. Maybe you’ve gone through a life-changing experience and you’d like to share this with the world. Having the desire to write is a great place to begin.
So what’s the catch? Why aren’t more people writing?
Famous authors hand out wonderful advice. Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) tells us to keep the pen moving across the page. Don’t put it down. This will keep your thoughts flowing. Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) believes in journaling 3 pages every morning. This overcomes your inner critic and makes writing a habit. Maya Angelou writes even “boring and awful stuff” to convince
her muse to come out of hiding. Other authors approach writing like a job: they write every day for a certain number of hours, as if they were on a time clock at work.
But what if those routines don’t work for you? What if you think you need a really good idea?
I’ve had ideas for great books. I keep a list of them on my computer. Not just little notes in a drawer but actual pages of writing. I’m up to 20 novels. Some of them I finished but my writing skills were poor and those books will never be published. Last year I completed a novel that I’m sending out to agents. And the rest? They’re collecting dust in the library in the sky, that final gathering place for all unused ideas.
Are your ideas collecting dust? Being eaten by moths? Are the waves of time slowly eroding the foundation until you’re left with nothing but a whisper?
Don’t let that happen to you.
Here are three ways to get started writing:
1. Start where you are
2. Don’t worry about how much you write
3. Just start
Start where you are
If you’re worried that you don’t know how your book begins or ends, that’s okay. Start where you are. Whatever idea you have is the perfect place to begin. Some writers, the really organized ones, use outlines and stick to those outlines to create structure and chapters and scenes. These people are called plotters. Other authors write by the seat of their pants. They’re called pantsers. Both ways are acceptable. Both ways work. If outlines help you think more clearly, use an outline. If you’d rather see where your thoughts take you, go with the flow.
So open up your journal or pull up a blank page on your computer, and write.
Don’t worry about how much you write
“But what if I don’t have enough to say?” several clients have asked.
You don’t have to say a lot. In high school I fretted over not being able to fill a blue book. I watched students scribble page after page while I sat there frozen on my first paragraph. I still get stopped by a failure to expound, especially when I compare myself to authors with the gift of gab. But eventually
I realize I’m okay. I write short scenes. Many of my chapters are 3 pages long. And those 3 pages are great.
Write what you have to say. Whatever it is. However long it is. This is about you, not someone else. Joe Vitale published a book called Life’s Missing Instruction Manual: The Guidebook You Should Have Been Given at Birth. It’s all of 176 pages (short) and made up of essays. Some of the essays are a page or more, but many of them are a paragraph. One paragraph. So don’t use other people’s guidelines for your writing.
Procrastination can mean the difference between success and failure. I’m a great procrastinator. My excuse for not writing is that I’m not inspired. And if I’m not inspired, the writing doesn’t flow. Who wants to write uninspired drivel? I don’t. I’m waiting for my muse to kick in, for my angelic writing committee to strike up the heavenly choir and inundate my brain and fingers with rhapsodic, melodic phrases. That’s the way to write.
When I’m not in that space I get sulky, frustrated, lethargic, and blocked. All I see is the blank wall. There’s no way past that. At least, that’s what I believe in the moment. The truth is, there is a way. I “decide” I’m going to write. I sit in front of my computer and I pull up a blank page. I put my fingers on the keyboard. And I start writing.
I just start.
There you are. Three easy ways to get started writing. What are you waiting for?