Remember when you said, “If only I have time to write that book I’ve always wanted to.” *sigh* “If only…”
Wellllll, guess what? What else are you going to do for the next couple of weeks (indefinite future)? It’s tempting to sit at home and guzzle Netflix or watch the painfully repetitive. And of course —-> Eat. Cook. Nap. Eat. Repeat.
When you surface into society again, all you’ll have to show is the weight you gained. How about you eat that frog and write your book? If you can’t write a novel when you literally can’t leave your house, when will you? I will give you the players handbook on how to write a book and you will emerge into the world inspired, recharged, slaying.
Are you in? I said… ARE YOU IN?!?!
So let’s get down to business. 4 steps to starting your book start here —>
1. Your idea – Why would someone read your book? Do they need to know how grow tropical plants or save their marriage? Or maybe you have the next great American novel. You probably already have an idea. (Otherwise you wouldn’t read this far.) Ruminate on that idea. Hype yourself up. Brainstorm about how you are going to say what you want to say but mostly, boil it down to a rich and beautiful (or useful or funny or inspiring) concept. You need a really clear vision of this book before you move on.
2. Outline – For a novel, this is where you say, “first this happens, then this happens, which causes this to happen but it all works out because of this.” No need to be dodgy with this. It’s the skeleton for your book, not a teaser. You need the whole picture (or as much as of it as you’ve thought up).
For non-fiction, this is where you outline what order your information will go in. It’s helpful to think of your table of contents and then go from there.
—> A note on this – I’ve done it both ways, with an outline and without one. I can tell you, plan this shit out! It just works better. Your ideas will have more clarity. You’ll have less writers block and you’ll finish the book faster this. I promise.
Some people hesitate on an outline because they have holes in their storyline. Um, yeah. That’s pretty useful information. With an outline, you’ll know exactly where those holes are. Even if you don’t have all the answers, you’ll have a highlighted spot with “I have no idea what I’m going to put here” so that you can fill it in along the way. That’s ok. What’s not ok is flying by the seat of your pants because you’re lazy. Like I said, I’ve done it both ways.
3. Get help – There are great books on writing outlines. My favorite is cleverly called “Outlining Your Novel” by K. M. Weiland but there are others too. Your library probably has a bunch of them if, like me, your bookshelves are buckling from overpopulation. No social distancing there. Doh! (Ok, it was bad. But I’m NOT editing it out.)
4. Start – This seems like a dumb suggestion. I get it. But you’d be surprised how many people only get this far. So make yourself a house-arrest, body-rattling cup of coffee. Turn on some music (I jam to the theme song to Game of Thrones but I know we all can’t be so cool) and start typing. Imagine a movie intro. Introduce us to your subject or character. Set the stage. Hook our attention. And Go!
We’ll chat more about what’s next later.