I see you sitting at your desk, staring at the blank page of your word processor, trying to figure out how to turn the wisp of an idea in your head into a full-length novel. You know you have a masterpiece in you, if only you could figure out where to start.
Well, the simplest answer is to just start already! Just start typing. But you and I both know it’s not that easy. We writers are finicky folk who fool ourselves into thinking we can’t start if conditions aren’t absolutely perfect.
I hate to break it to you, but if that’s what you’re waiting for then you’ll never start writing your novel. You will never find the perfect conditions or the perfect time. So you may as well just give up now.
But you’re still here. You’re reading this post. That’s a good start. It shows me you really want to do this. And I’m here to help.
Read on for the top 6 tips to get started on your book today.
Plan Your Story
If you don’t have at least a loose plan for your novel, it will be 100 times harder to finish it. You don’t have to have an uber-detailed outline, but you do need to have a general idea of where the story is going to go. I like to free-write with pen and paper to figure this out, and then I come up with a loose outline of key events that need to happen in the story. The smaller details work themselves out as I write.
Plan Your Characters
Again, this doesn’t have to be super detailed. Characters will evolve with your story. No matter how fleshed out your character dossiers may be, there’s a good chance that they will change as you write and you’ll have to make tweaks during your edits. This is okay, but if you have no idea who your characters are, they will turn out completely 2-dimensional and boring. (Trust me, that’s what happened with the draft I just finished 2 weeks ago.)
Set REASONABLE Goals
Give yourself daily writing goals. This could be a set amount of time you will write (30 minutes per day), a word-count goal (500 words per day), or a page count goal (2 pages per day). Start low so you don’t get discouraged. If you find that 30 minutes is the absolute most time you get get each day to write, then go with that. Don’t force yourself to write more than is realistic – that’s the best way to burn out and never finish. You can always adjust your goals later if you want – and I mean adjust them up OR down, to fit your needs.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
If you miss a day of writing, or just can’t manage to make your goal for the day no matter how long you sit or how hard you bang your head on the keyboard, walk away. There is no law that says if you miss 1 day you have to stop. In fact, if you miss a day, the most important thing is to KEEP GOING. Come back tomorrow and try again. Whatever you do, don’t quite just because you missed a day (or 5.)
Schedule Writing Time
Once you figure out what your daily goals are, write it on your calendar in pen. This time is now sacred to you. Do not skip your writing time for happy hour or a coffee date with your besties. Explain to people what you’re doing and why it’s important to you. BONUS: This also helps you determine who truly supports you and who are your fair-weather friends.
The best way to get started is to have an accountability partner, someone to help you along the way, encourage you, and talk you through plot points that have you stuck. I’ve found that most people in my personal life aren’t exactly committed to this, and even if they want to help, they often don’t know how because they’re not writers themselves. That’s where Dream. Write. Sell. Author Coaching comes in. Sign up to get personal, 1-1 help and accountability every week.
Join the Dream. Write. Sell. Badass Writers, and be the first to get notified when new services are available. It’s almost January, and this will be the perfect holiday gift to yourself to help you make sure you actually write that book in 2018!