Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Get Busy Writing

Normally on Wednesdays, I like to preview a new book or books that I've found interesting and talk to either the authors or the characters. This week I am doing something different. Every so often I like to address those who would like to go from being a reader to a writer. 

Today I am going to focus on the goal of writing itself. As  a writer I am constantly being told by others that they would love to write a book but they don't know what to do about it. Or they say they have so many stories in their heads but they don't know where to start. I had that conversation with someone just yesterday and my advice to him was what I say to everyone:

Just start writing.

Whatever it is you want to stay, start putting those words on paper or typing them into your computer or onto your phone or ipad. But how? Sometimes the most difficult part of writing something new can be that first line. Those blank pages staring back at you can be quite daunting. Believe me, I've been there so many times. I know what you're thinking:

How do I make a good start?
What do I say?
What will make the most sense?
What will grab the reader?
Do I want someone to even read this?

My answer to all those questions and worries is something a wise old news editor once told me:

 Don't worry about them. Just write what's in your head. 

Don't worry about making it perfect the first time. Just start. You can always fix it later. As I've heard Nora Roberts say at a number of writing conventions, "You can't edit what you haven't written." And having written so many bestsellers, she is definitely someone to take writing advice from. She also says if you want to make money at writing you have to treat it like a job. You have to constantly work at it and not just wait for the muse to strike. Again -- good advice. 

If your life story is what you want to write, if you want to tell the story of someone close to you, if you have a fiction story you've been kicking around in your head, STOP THINKING! Start writing. Just like you go to work every day, work at your writing and your book or story will get finished.

One of the things I have done at the end of nearly every year is to take stock of the things I accomplished in that year as well as make a goal list of the things I want to accomplish in the next year. Every year I look back at both lists. When something doesn't get finished, it often moves forward to the next year. One of the fun things I've discovered as I look back is how many things did eventually get accomplished -- even if they were moved forward several times. 

I have a little sign above my desk that says "Just Do It." And that sometimes gets me back on track. But if you're starting out, the point is, the books and stories will never get finished if you don't start writing them. Put those first words down on a piece of paper. Type them into your computer. Just get them down in written form. Now is as good a time as any. 

You alone can make 2018 your year for writing that book or that story. Get busy writing now and you may be calling yourself an author by 2019. 

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