Have you ever thought, “I can do it! I can write a book!”, then immediately have those other thoughts creep in, those not so nice thoughts that seem to come from a place that some call “logic” or “reality”?
Soon reinforcements come marching to the aid of those other thoughts and they sound something like,”I honestly don’t have time,” followed by, “I’m not really that good,” along with, “I’m not in the mood,” then the deathblow of, “it’s too hard”.
Me too. All of the time. In fact, they still surface every now and again and I have finished writing the third draft of my novel.
Several people who have had the first thought of: “I can write, I can do this”, have come to me and asked how to do it. This post is in response to those queries as well as those other thoughts that never seem to die, but always seem to speak with a deep resonating authority.
I would like to begin with two things. First, the book took six years to get this far. Second, I had a lot of help and encouragement along the way. This post is by no means a way of me boasting, but rather a novice writer providing ideas that may help you find that groove.
1.The desire to write. Many people laugh at this. But it must be stated. There is an enormous difference between thinking about big book contracts or the piles of money (that rarely ever come) and traveling to cafes and villas in the far flung corners of the world and the simple practice of writing.
Notice I said a desire to write, not a desire to get a lot of money, for that is not what writing is about.
You need to start with the bottom line: a love for words, language, or your main character. Money will never carry you through to the finished product and there are far more easy things you can do to turn a quick buck.
2.Carving out time to write. I played hockey for about 15 years. I played in many leagues and absolutely loved it
(I rarely miss a televised Detroit Red Wings game!). I often had 11:15pm ice times on weeknights, but I loved it and I would have stayed up through the night to play.
I realized, as my first daughter was born, that I could not continue hockey. I needed to focus. It’s been about three years since I’ve laced up skates. It still hurts some days.
3. Make a consistent writing schedule and stick to it. When my second daughter was born I discussed with my wife that I needed one night a week to focus solely on writing. It was a hard adjustment for us both, particularly for my wife Cindy. There were times when I wanted to go, and times I wanted to stay home and just rest or be with her and my daughters June and Clara. I went anyway no matter the time or how stressful my day at work was.
4.Find a writers group. This is detrimental. I could not be where I am without my fellow Weaklings. Accountability and being with people who are eager to read or ask you about your writing is key. Also, you may be scared with the thought of sharing your work with others but there is no better way to improve your craft.
5.Write. Silly, right? Those questions are starting again. I can hear them.
How? What about? Where? With what? There are no simple answers to these questions.
Famous writer after famous writer has said the only reason people are successful at this craft is because they write and they write often. Not that they went to this school or had this education or wrote in this particular style. Those things come. Just elbow those other thoughts out of your mind, clear your schedule for an hour or two and begin.