With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the globe, many potential authors now have that time they always wanted to reach their goal of publishing a book. But facing the blank page (or screen) is intimidating, and even the most accomplished authors struggle to get a new writing project started. We here at InstantPublisher have been there. Here are 15 ways to get that writing project started.
1 – Write Fast
Natalie Goldberg, the author of the best-selling book Writing Down the Bones, recommends that you “keep your hand moving.” That is, don’t pause for inspiration, to find the perfect word, or give your brain time to slow down at all. Keeping your hands moving, whether this is writing quickly in a notebook or typing in a new document file, helps you get an uncensored version of your thoughts. So, write as fast as you can to get that rough draft down on the page.
2 – Use Timed Writing Sessions
Timed writing sessions are an excellent way to create a sense of urgency and help keep your hands moving. Plus setting a timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes does not seem like a big investment of time, so writing won’t intimidate you. Even the busiest person can find 5 minutes at lunch or when they first wake up to get some writing time in.
3 – Don’t Worry About What Others Will Think
Don’t censor yourself or worry about what other people might think if they read your words. Remember that this is the first draft, and chances are no one will ever see it. All writing projects undergo considerable revision with sections being written and rewritten several times. So, feel free to let it fly. Write the raw, unhinged words as they flow into your brain. Again, this will be easier if you use the “keep your hand moving” approach to writing. Writing fast tends to short circuit the part of your brain that worries about offending people or being afraid of looking stupid.
4 – Don’t Worry About Spelling, Grammar, or Punctuation
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are all issues that can be fixed in later drafts. The goal right now is to get a first draft written.
5 – Ask Yourself – “What Am I Trying to Say?”
This is a good question to explore in a 15-minute timed writing session. Describe the “big picture” of your writing project. What is the big theme of the book or story? What important information should be included in it? What is your inspiration or the original spark that got the story started and growing in your head? Write down all of the details both big and small.
6 – Ask Yourself – “Why Should I Write This?”
This question is almost important as “what am I trying to say,” because it starts you thinking about the audience for your book. Why is this story or subject important to you? And, more importantly, why would someone want to read it? Another thing to think about during this 15-minute writing session is to think about why you are the perfect person to create this work.
7 – Create a List
Creating a list is a quick and easy way to capture any of the important information you would like to cover in your project. For non-fiction projects, this could be a list of questions that the book needs to answer, or information you need to research. For fiction projects, this list may include characters, setting, background information, plot points within the story, scenes, and much more. This doesn’t have to be in any particular order, this is just about getting important information about your project on the page.
8 – Break the Project Down into Bite-Sized, Manageable Tasks
Writing a book is a huge endeavor encompassing hundreds of hours of work. When you think of the hundreds (if not thousands) of tasks that need to be completed before you see your book on the shelf, it is easy to be completely overwhelmed. So, break the project down into simple, manageable tasks. These tasks can be about writing, research, marketing, or administrative tasks–such as selecting a book cover design, or getting the proper book manuscript format–that need to be finish before the project is complete. Once you have a master list of project tasks it is easier to manage them one task at a time.
9 – Write at the Same Time Each Day
Your brain likes routine. This helps it save energy by bringing predictability and routine into its awareness. And if you establish a regular writing time and stick with it, your brain will begin to help you by processing your thoughts about the project and often surprise you with good content when it knows it is time to write.
10 – Warm Up Before Working on Your Writing Project
Give your brain a chance to purge all of the distractions, recurring thoughts, fears, frustrations, and other minutiae that are rattling around in your head. Take 5 to 10 minutes each day to warm up, to get those thoughts onto the page, and out of your head so you can focus on more important writing project work.
11 – Write the Easiest Parts First
No one has ever said that writing has to be done in strict sequential order–beginning with the first word on page 1 straight through to the words “the end” on the last page of the project. Most authors hop around a lot throughout the writing process. Many mystery writers draft the ending to the mystery first so that they know where the story will end and then construct the rest of the story to help get to that reveal on the last page. So, if you get stuck anywhere in a writing project, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it, just skip to the next section where you know what needs to be written and go back to that other section later.
12 – Describe the Writing Project to a Loved One or Close Friend
Another approach to take–if you get stuck–is to step away from the project and describe it, as well as the part that is vexing you at the moment, to a sympathetic ear such as a close friend or loved one in the form of a letter. This helps your brain look at the project from a different point of view and may help you break through your writer’s block.
13 – Allow Yourself to Write Garbage
According to William Faulkner, you simply need to “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” You need to give yourself permission to write crap. Words that are full of typos and misspellings and awkward phrasing. Just get it on the page. You can always make it better later.
14 – Focus on Progress Not Perfection
The goal when working on the first draft of any writing project is to get it down. Don’t judge your first draft by the quality of the manuscript, but by the progress you make each day. Track the time you spend working on the manuscript, or better still, the word count of your project. That will help keep you motivated and moving forward.
15 – Start Right Now
The best way to get that writing project underway is to simply start working on it. Right now! Begin typing and see where it goes.
Is Your Manuscript Complete? Take Advantage of InstantPublisher’s Discount for First Time Customers
When you are ready to publish your book, contact us here at InstantPublisher. We are here to help you reach the goal of seeing your work in print.
InstantPublisher is here to encourage potential authors during this difficult time. Helping them get those books written and into print as fast as possible. We have printed over 11 million books since our start in 2001, and help authors achieve their self-publishing dreams, and create something positive out of this crisis.
To facilitate this, InstantPublisher is offering a limited-time 10% discount for first-time customers on any book publishing package if the order has been placed by July 1st, 2020. Use the coupon code: print-2020. If you have any questions at all, please give us a call at 1-800-259-2592, fill out our online contact form, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.