Writing Your First Novel?
GETTING STARTED: for the motivated self-learner: Authors new to the publishing world often ask us how to write a book. What are the first steps? How do you get started? These are all valid questions. If you’ve never written, self-published, or published a book before, the process could seem overwhelming.
Is your story bursting out of you in spite of everything? Are you or do you have heartaches, headaches, sleepless nights, how many mornings have you witnessed the sun rising and you are still hunched over your computer. Do you find yourself eating a lot of popcorn, maybe changing your favorite beverage of choice while you’re working on your masterpiece? Have you found yourself sitting for hours staring at your computer screen pondering over what to say? And you think to yourself, “If my thoughts would only mysteriously appear in proper format on my computer into my novel.” Then you ask yourself, “What am I doing?” So you are hunched over your computer rereading and rewriting until you change a word or two and just like magic you have written another paragraph.
But with continued questions popping up at from every angle. Regardless of the reason you are working as hard as you are. You have a story in you. Scream and shout occasionally until you are tired. Trust me, it helps. Well, for me anyway. When nothing else comes to mind, get a pen and pad and write about yourself. What are your likes, dislikes, wants and needs, hobbies and heart desires? Maybe these tips will help you out of your ‘Writer’s Block.’
I sat down at my then antiquated Laptop without a clue as to what I was doing. But I Just kept tick-tacking away at the keyboard and before I knew it twenty-five pages and hours later, I could not believe what I had begun. I didn’t know what I was doing. I had filled several pages with words that eventually turned out to be my first novel ‘Romance of a Lifetime’. As I like to call it, “My training wheels for writing”.
Pondering what to do with these pages filled with words, it was not a story: not yet anyway. I called a dear friend and begged him to read what I had written. This dear friend inspired me to keep pecking away until I finished my story. His words still pierce my ears to this day. “No one can finish this story for you not even a Ghost Writer. This is your baby. Your story to tell in your words. With some coaching, who knows”?
My sisters read my then short story and asked, “Why is it that you can write a business document but you can not write a simple complete sentence?”
Needless to say, their words stung me, and badly I might say. I sat down in front of my rusty laptop and highlighted my first poorly written novel. My eyes filled with tears and my index finger hovering over the delete button, and at that moment, my phone rang. The caller ID showed it to be my dear trusty friend. I answered the phone; my heart was aching with regret. My hard work isn’t good enough. The countless hours that I have spent working on this story, missed meals, missed social events, a lot of nights not being able to sleep, and how much wine had I consumed?
My dear friend cheerfully asked, “What are you doing? Working on that masterpiece I hope.”
“Funny you asked. I’m about to delete it.”
“No…!” he shouted. “It needs plenty of work. Whatever you do, don’t delete it. Maybe this is the time to test your patience. Keep writing. Keep deleting. Keep making changes. Keep reading other novels. Keep researching. You’ll get there”.
I thought my dear friend was crazy, but he was right. And I learned from my sisters. I still hear their voices in the back of mind. Look how far I have come.
You need to have cheerleaders in your life as well as the truth tellers. All comments regardless good or bad you need to listen. Grow as a writer from the harsh truth tellers and the cheerleaders that you have allowed to surround you.
Another big mistake that I made was letting too many people read my work before it was completed, proofed and edited. It was a mistake for me to listen to what they said. If you find yourself running around in circles making too many changes to your story, it is no longer your story. Publishing companies will chop your book up to their expectation. It is very important that you get your thoughts on paper before letting others in your head.
After you have finished writing your masterpiece, I encourage you to then hand out copies to friends and family. Ask them to put a red pen or pencil to your story. Prepare yourself, soak it all in and make most of the changes. Do not be brash with them in order to hear the truth.
When its time, seek a professional proofreader and editor. It will be money well spent. Removing your “Training Wheels of Writing” is not easy. Remember it all happens in phases. But it is well worth fulfilling your heart’s desire.
Remember, ‘Keep Writing’.
Purchase The Self-Help Guide For The Enthusiastic Writer, by Paula Perry.
Publish with Writers Block Production and Map Systems at writersblockproduction.com.