I was asked recently: how do you start writing a book?
Now, I’m a fledgling writer, but I’ve done the dirty deed. Yes, it’s messy. And I’ve made much more money code slinging and fermenting grapes and honey. (Fermenting is so much messier, btw.) But those who want to enter the field of writing will ask me how it’s done, like I’m some sort of expert now.
The answer is simple. You sit your butt down and do it. Yes. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Television off, internet off. Prepare to spend hours, days, weeks . . . world building, story building, writing, editing, etc. In the end you may or may not like the results. Off you go. Oh, you want more?
Well, perhaps you should start with an outline? And character mock-ups and development? If the story is complex enough, you can even break out a separate outline for each character, with the main outline tying them all together. There are even software programs out there some authors use to help them keep track. I’ve used Dramatica a bit, but fyi, it doesn’t make the process less work.
I sense you want more direction. You’re searching for that special magic that will take you from where you are now to having a finished product plopped into your hands.
What you’re looking for is conviction. Have faith enough in your ideas to fully commit. That’s the dirty little secret every successful writer’s been keeping from you. There, I’ve shared it. Regardless of your ideas and concepts, amazing as they are, if you’re unwilling to follow through, nothing will be realized.
There a tons of books and classes and blogs on writing, go and find some that interest you now. There are topics from how to construct a sentence to how to market a finished book. For example, yesterday I listened to an awesome talk by David Farland on How to Sell Your Novel. He discussed the importance of not just editing your book to make it publishable, but editing your text to make it spectacular. It was a fabulous talk, and I loved it to pieces. Now you get out there and find books and blogs that fit the holes in your knowledge base. I assure you, they exist, and those sources are only too happy to help you out. Soon you’ll have more direction and skills on how to move forward, and the confidence will come.
And if you don’t? Well my friend, then you still don’t have conviction. Do some soul searching. Why do you want to write? Are you looking for fame, fortune, and the wondrous recognition of your peers? Writing is the long, difficult, and unlikely path to that goal. Now, if you feel you have some stories you carry around, and they just need to be told? Perhaps you’re saddled with a calling, but are you willing to do the work it takes to get the ideas out of your head and into a format others can fully enjoy? Then do it.
But do it now. Don’t wait around for ‘the moment’ to happen. That moment is now. You’re just too afraid of your potential, and the work ahead of you, to see it.