Quite often I’m told by would-be writers, “I’ve always wanted to write, but I don’t have time,” or “I have a story to tell, but I don’t know where to begin.” The first step is often the hardest, but not impossible. It is not necessary to jump all in when doing something creative. As a matter of fact, most creative processes come in small doses. Take small steps and build on them.
An option for getting started is to record into a hand held tape recorder every time you have a thought. You could also have a notebook handy for writing or taking notes, in point form or detailed, when you’re waiting around, riding on the bus or traveling. And if all you have handy is a paper towel when a thought hits you, don’t be afraid to use it. I’ve done that on several occasions. Open a file on your computer, or two or three (one for each book idea). Transfer your notes into your file every night or once a week, again in point form or detailed. The order in which your book is written is not important.
Devote a regular time slot for writing your book. This is similar to an exercise routine at 6:00 three times a week or hockey practice every Tuesday night. Write it in your calendar as an appointment. Stick to it. Although half an hour is better than nothing, it often takes two or more hours to really get the juices flowing. On my first book, I dedicated Saturday mornings to my sit-down writing. Still in my jammies – because comfort is important – with toast and a cup of tea, I usually spent three or four hours just plucking at the keyboard. Creativity came easier as time went on. If after an honest try, the creative juices aren’t flowing, don’t worry, maybe next time they will flood through.
Depending on the type of book it is or how you think, you may decide to structure a beginning, a middle and an end to the story, and then fill in the rest. Or you may choose to write whatever comes to mind, and then sort it out as you go along. Either way is fine. If you are writing a story requiring several characters, places or time frames, make side notes to maintain character outlines and story continuity. If you are referencing a source or quoting a person, make sure you note where it originated. You may need to include this in your book.
There are books on creative writing, continuing education classes on writing, and writers group to help you along. Each person will give you a different piece of expertise and information. Each in its own way is valuable.
As you go along, you’ll find your own niche, what works for you. So, if you’ve always wanted to write that novel, how-to manual, children’s book… what are you waiting for?