What's Your Story?
Ever wanted to write a book but don't know how to start? This is for you!
Big Magic and Me
I love the book 'Big Magic' by Elizabeth Gilbert (also the author of 'Eat, Pray, Love'). I may or may not love it so much that I've read it multiple times. This book is what made me decide to get my ideas out of my head and onto the page. The basic idea is that we all have moments of creativity. Gilbert describes creativity as something all to itself that is constantly moving from one person to another.
So let me ask you, have you ever had an idea for a story? Maybe you felt the inspiration to share your own story in a book. But where to start?
Here's what you don't need:
- Fancy English degree
- Book agent
- Book deal
- Lots of money
Don't get me wrong, it would be amazing to start off with a book deal and a big fat check to motivate you to write, but it doesn't happen that way for most of us. My first book was a labor of love and I made ZERO money while writing it. As a matter of fact, my husband was out of work for about 9 months while I was writing it so we were broker than broke! I had to get really creative with my resources to get published, but I did it and so can you.
Here's what you do need:
- Something to write with/on
- An idea/story to share
- You need to start
There are millions of books out in the world, and millions more to come. One of those can be yours!
If you have an idea/story, then you have a place to start.
- This may seem a little backwards, but stay with me here. Do a brain dump of your idea onto paper (or type it out on the computer). Just by doing this one thing right here, you have STARTED YOUR BOOK!
- Go back and read what you wrote during your brain dump. Now ask yourself these questions:
- What is my story about? What I mean by this is, what is your subject matter?
- What genre does my story fit into?
- Who is my target audience?
- What is the message I want my audience to receive.
- By answering these questions, you will be better able to fill out your story. You can even keep a little notebook with you at all times in case an idea comes to you about your story. Creativity comes and goes, so write things down that you really don't want to forget!
This is your starting place.
Guys, this is a journey. A book doesn't get written overnight. It took Susan Cain seven years to write her book 'Quiet'.
While it is good to have a reasonable timeline in your mind, don't get bogged down by it. If you only write for five minutes a day for the first month, that's okay too. What matters is that you are moving forward to accomplish your goal. One of my favorite quotes from Chandler Bolt (Self Publishing School) is, "my bad book is better than the book you don't have".
You also don't have to have all the answers before you get started. Start writing, talk to published authors, listen to publishing and author podcasts for inspiration. Just don't think you will have all the steps down pat before you start writing. It's a journey, not a sprint.
For the Love of Writing
Don't give up on your dreams. Just start writing and don't try to edit your work while you write. Let me repeat that again for those in the back row...DO NOT EDIT WHILE YOU ARE WRITING! This will drag you down into a hole and you will not make progress.
Also, it doesn't have to be perfect. This is the rough draft of your manuscript. Even Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Elizabeth Gilbert, Susan Cain (and basically every single author that ever wrote a word) had someone edit their manuscript before it was published. Elizabeth Gilbert was just SURE that 'Eat, Pray, Love' sucked when she was writing it. Look how that one turned out!
The point is, no one and nothing is perfect. If it's important enough for you to continue mentioning your desire to become an author, then it's important enough to set aside some time every day to write.