Want to write a book? If this is your dream, you CAN do it. Just keep going.
I’ve been helping a couple of NaNoWriMo writers who started with high hopes, and then gave up. Here’s what I suggested to them: it’s what’s on the computer screen that counts. You can’t fix what you haven’t written. They’re back on track, after a little book coaching.
There’s nothing much involved with writing a book. It’s just like any other kind of writing.
Here’s the process in a nutshell:
- You get an idea;
- You outline (or not): some writers choke when they try to create an outline before they’ve written anything;
- You start writing;
- You keep going until you’re done;
- You revise, and write a second draft;
- You edit;
- You’re done.
Over the years, I’ve written hundreds of books. It’s a lot of scribbling… 🙂 However, no matter how many books you’ve written, every book is a new project. You’ve never written THIS book before. So, you choke. You procrastinate. You tell yourself you need ________(whatever.) Whatever you think you “need” is just BS you feed yourself.)
Affirmations help you to complete your book. What helps even more is TIME. You need to sit your butt in the chair and write.
Let’s look at my favorite commonsense tips for anyone who’s writing a book, or who wants to.
1. You can’t finish what you don’t start.
Seriously. You can’t write a book if you THINK about writing… All you can do is write, the best you can, every day. A lot of what you write (much of what you write) will seem like JUNK at the time. Remember, shitty first drafts, always.
Your book may look ugly. Love it anyway. Start, and keep going. Write every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. Do the best you can – no matter how horrible your “best” seems to be. There are lots of ways you can turn your sow’s ear into a silk purse… but only if you start writing.
Do you read the kind of book you’re trying to write?
If you’re trying to write a horror novel, read horror novels. Read the classic horror novels. Read Dracula, if you want to write a vampire novel. Writers never stop learning; you learn by reading, and writing. Read, and write.
If you’re writing nonfiction, you need to read too. Read horror novels. Read biographies. Read everything. Nonfiction writers write with authority. You need to be well-read, to write authoritatively.
You’re not reading to get ideas, or to copy anything, you’re reading because that’s what writers do. Your reading inspires you. Ideas develop from that.
3. Write what you want to write, right now.
Why start at the beginning? Your readers do that. You can start anywhere.
If you start at the beginning, you can sit and stare at “Chapter One” forever. Forget Chapter One. Write whatever you want to write, right now. You’ll figure out where it belongs later.
Scrivener’s a wonderful writing tool for that reason. You can write anything you like, and use the index card view to build structure later.
4. Trust yourself. Write.
You know more than you think you do. You have imagination.
Your trust develops as you’re writing, WHILE you’re writing. If you wait to develop self-trust before you commit to writing your book, you’ll wait forever. It doesn’t work that way.
Write. Your trust and faith in yourself will develop. However, if you stop writing, realize that you’ll only get your trust back when you get back to writing. Trust is experiential.
This is why I suggested to the NaNoWriMo writers: it’s what’s on the computer screen that counts. You can’t fix what you haven’t written.
Write. Get book coaching if you need it. Anyone can write a book. Start, and keep going.
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