Friday, July 26, 2013
3 Steps Towards Writing Your First Book
When I first began writing, it was in middle school. I would write short stories or start writing ideas in hopes they would become books but I lacked follow through. I guess that's what happens to a creatively-distracted 12 year old girl.
In 2012, when I completed my first paperback book The Palace Keepers, I could hardly believe it. I actually followed through and finished writing a book! All of those handwritten scrap papers and binders filled with notes for the past four years were now nicely typed, edited and published in a real, tangible, legit book. Wow. Not only was it a confidence booster but it really taught me a lot about what writing really is and not what I thought it was.
Before you even start the first page, I wanted to share three steps to help you towards writing your book. There are a lot of false mindsets about writing that I had to break down and power through. I hope you can start off on a better foot and clear your mind of some clutter. Regardless of the genre or style, these tips can help your mind prepare for what is to come.
STEP #1: Pray.
You might not be a Christian writer like I am, but in this step take a moment to reflect on what you want to write and why you want to write it. Start a prayer or devotion journal for writing. Before you write, sit down and journal your thoughts and feelings. Meditate, find peace and invite patience into your space. For me, I ask God to direct my thoughts and words. When you take time before you write to get centered, you are more likely to create something you are proud of.
STEP #2: Plan.
I am a big advocate of writing without planning and it gets me into so much trouble. Schedule a time every day, usually the same time, strictly for working on your book. Not blog posts, not articles. Take time to map out your book summary, characters, chapters, layout, author voice etc. Focus on the bigger picture of what you want your book to sound like, feel like, be like. Think of your target audience and ask yourself some questions: What can I say to inspire them? How do I want the reader to feel when they finish my book? Then answer those questions. Keep them close by throughout the entire book writing process.
STEP #3: Push.
Even before you start the first word, distractions will call your name. Phone notifications will beep, emails will sing and neighbors will knock. That is life. Those can wait (unless your neighbor has an emergency, then send them next door to the other neighbor. Just kidding. Maybe.) Remember your scheduled writing time and stick to it. If you are having writer's block, take a minute to pray, review your plan and push through. Through the darkness, through the cobwebs and through the mess you call your mind. Sometimes it is good to take a break but don't use it as an excuse to slack.
Keep in mind: your dream is to become an author and write a book.
No one is going to write it for you, and quite honestly, no one can write it but you.