Whenever I tell someone I’m a writer I get two different responses almost always. The non-writers want to then know more about me. They almost always ask what I write and then if I’m published-I hardly ever tell people I’m an author unless they ask me because I’d write whether I was published or not. That makes me a writer first. And yes, you can be one without being the other.
The other response I get is for those who have writing in their heart but just don’t know how to unleash the beast. They almost always say, I would love to write a book. And then they proceed to tell me a little bit about whatever story they have floating around in their system.
The writers will then tell me they don’t know how to get started or that they did get started but never finished.
This article will address those of you who haven’t started (I’ll get to those that haven’t finished in a later article).
One thing you’re about to do is make every excuse you can possibly think of. This always happens right after you tell me about your book and I then nod my head enthusiastically at you and proceed to give you helpful advice, which you won’t take because fill-in-the-blank with an excuse here.
One thing I want to touch on here is before I go any further is the reason why you might want to write a book. If you tell me you want to be the next bestselling author and make a million dollars, I’ve got news for you: Even the bestselling authors who are bring in the big bucks don’t write for the money. That’s just a very nice side benefit and the chances of it happening to you are slim, especially if your motivation is monetary gain.
Writer’s write because we love the craft. It’s as simple as that. And if you are one of the few who gain financially from it, then it’s a nice benefit to doing something you absolutely love.
For those who are still reading, I’m going to assume you’re here to figure out how to get started.
First, give up the excuses. Write all of them down (Yes, I’m serious. And I’ll wait while you do.)
Welcome to the purge. Okay, now that you have all the excuses you’ve ever made written on nine sheets of paper (Just kidding…I hope), burn them all. Safely, please. If you have a fireplace this is a nice place to do it. If you don’t have a fireplace, take a few minutes and go to a safe location to complete this task.
The excuses are no longer floating around in your system along with the story. That story is standing alone in there, ready to be released.
So, release it. Just write. It’s that simple.
It doesn’t matter if it’s good writing or not. Don’t worry about it if makes sense. Just write.
Just a little side note for those of you who need a bit of reassurance: Everyone’s first draft sucks. Even the bestsellers who make bank, so put all that self-doubt aside and just write. The simple fact is, we are just talking about you seeing it after all. You don’t have to worry about others seeing it until after you finish the project, so don’t project to far into the future.
Just write (Are you sick of me saying that yet? One more time, and then I’m finished. I promise.)
For those of you who have performed the purge and now you have nothing in your system. Not even a story, I say to you: Just write. You heard me, there are several ways to get inspired.
The internet and phone apps are a great tool to use. There are so, so many writing prompts out there that all you have to do is type the word in google and it’ll bring up lists of them. If you’re a more visual person and like art or just certain pictures, google that instead.
Technology isn’t your friend? Then for a walk or people watch in a more populated area. Sometimes reading someone else’s work can inspire.
Even if all you write are the same words over and over, it still counts. Putting words together to form a sentence is a learned skill. That’s good news for all us writers.