If you are here you, like me, get carried away very easily by the other aspects of writing a book. The daydreaming, making a Pinterest board, reading poetic sentences that inspire even more daydreams etc.
The problem is that all this takes up a lot of our time, and after days, weeks or months, we still end up with a blank page.
Today I have decided once and for all to put an end to this problem, both for me and for all of you readers.
Related article: How to stop procrastinating your book/task
Here are the best tips for writing, in the truest sense of the word
1. A writing notebook with a purpose
I have noticed that the thing that kills most of my quasi-stories is my distraction. Often when I focus on something I completely eliminate the existence of anything else from my mind. This leads me, quite honestly, to forget to write.
(Yes I know this could stem from something that should be diagnosed but shh let’s just play it cool).
So since I only remember what is in front of me, I will put my writing where I can always see it.
And the best way to do this is to buy a nice diary (with a nice cover of course) to carry with you at all times.
This will not only remind you again and again that you have to write instead of sitting around, but it will finally give you a place to write down those flying ideas that always come in the bathroom or before bed.
Try carrying a diary with you for a week and see the results.
2. Clear road to the first draft
This is the best advice anyone could ever give you. If you follow it nothing can stop your writing career.
There are thousands of writers who are NOT writing right now. And not out of laziness. But out of fear.
That’s right what you call procrastination is nothing but terror of not being enough.
We live in a world that moves fast before our eyes and we now have the notion that we too must have the same speed. Of having to learn one thing and do it perfectly the next day. One day you learn to read and the next day you have to know how to give a presentation at Harvard.
There, that does nothing but ruin you.
If you really want to become a writer, you have to get all this crap out of your head. The draft of your first book does NOT have to be perfect. It MUST have grammatical errors, typos, plot holes, nonsense sentences, and everything else you classify as negative.
Precisely because it is the first draft. It will not be a masterpiece ready to be sent to publishers, it cannot be. Even professional writers write gibberish in first drafts.
They are made for that.
Words get stuck and can’t make it to the keyboard if you put the pretence on them that they have to come out perfect. The important thing is that something comes out, anything, that remotely resembles a book.
The only thing your first draft must do is exist.
3. Properly done introductions
If you see yourself in the writing and not your character, you are doing something wrong. And the best thing is that you don’t have to figure out what to fix it.
Here is what you have to do before introducing each character.
- Go to a quiet place
- Take a pen and paper
- Write a page entirely from the character’s point of view
You don’t have to write a scene from the book, just write the first thing that comes to mind. Even if it’s just ‘x goes to buy an ice cream but there’s a huge queue’, start there and write down the character’s thoughts and actions. If there is someone else with him, who is the other person? How does he treat her? What does he think of her?
Write a page or more from the point of view of all your main characters (if you have more than one).
Instead for the secondary characters, you can write even half a page, the important thing is that it is enough for you to understand who they are.
I have to say that this helped me more than anything to not fit too much into my main character’s story and to make her a person in her own right.
Related article: Introducing Characters To Your Story: Our Top Tips
4. Have fun writing
In the first draft, unleash all your creativity. No restrictions. I have already told you that it does not have to be perfect and blah blah blah. Another crucial point to remember is that you must have fun while writing it.
Otherwise, what are you writing for? You risk turning one of the most creative jobs into a mere to-do list.
Writing is primarily a hobby, something you enjoy as a pastime. When you have your finished manuscript in hand then you can edit it, and there I assure you that you will have plenty of time to get serious about it.
In the meantime, enjoy this moment.
What is the worst thing that could happen to your protagonist? Write it down.
What embarrassing scene could happen in this serious situation? Make it happen.
Would you like some animated object to speak? You are the author, what are you waiting for?
I’m not saying this has to end up in the story. You can also write it on another page, that way you will feel closer to the characters and, above all, take yourself less seriously.
5. Easy writing goals
Stop saying ‘I will write 30,000 words this month’. Be serious. How many words did you write last month? And the month before that? Do you think it is humanly possible to go from writing 10 words a month to writing a complete book in 3 months?
It’s the equivalence of having as your maximum exercise walking fast in the garden and the next day winning a marathon.
As I have already explained, progress is not achieved in a day.
I now write almost every day for this blog (so I would appreciate if you’d subscribe to the newsletter thank you) but when I started I didn’t write that much. Not even close.
The first month I wrote 1 article and the next maybe 3.
Only by starting with small goals can you leave enough room to grow.
So set yourself a goal. It will do wonders for your motivation. But, choose a realistic one.
If you are not used to writing, decide that for a month, you will always write at least once a week. Just one, and even a few sentences count. I assure you that when you see that you succeed in your goal, you will be filled with serotonin (the hormone of happiness) and you will be proud of yourself. So much so that you will be able to continue, and step by step, to bring your book into the light of day.
I can’t wait to read your masterpieces so what are you waiting for, run to work!
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