Do you dream of your name in lights? As the author of a fantastic novel? You read the bestsellers thinking, “I could of written this!” Or maybe you can spot all the errors the author made and know you could write something so much better. But then you sit down to put your great idea to paper (or screen as it may be), and boom. Nothing comes out except a few jumbled run on sentences describing…nill.
Don’t be discouraged – but do be practical, for writing, like any truly worthwhile creative process is difficult. Just as the artist must first learn to train their mind to see creatively in order to draw, the writer must learn the rhythm of how to write.
Sometimes the only thing a prospective writer needs is a bit of encouragement – maybe in the form of the right motivational book, or the encouragement of a trusted friend or teacher. But maybe that motivation isn’t forthcoming – how do you keep going? The sad truth is most would-be authors give up well before the first chapter.
So you say you don’t want to be a statistic. You really are determined, committed to being successful. Well I will tell you the formula for success, step-by-step. We will break each step down so you understand it’s importance. Here we go.
- First of all, lower your standards. Yup, that’s right – you heard me – let that perfect, gleaming idea of perfection fly out the window. Your goal is to be sub-standard. Now before you trash this article, listen to the logic of this crazy scheme. After you’ve done your outline, plotted a few characters, and of course found your best idea, just write. Don’t review and edit as you do so. Write fabulous run on sentences, terrific misspellings and other grammatical errors, and horrifying plot inconsistincies. Why? Because this is your rough draft, and darn it – it should be rough! Every terrific author out there will quietly admit how very much their first rough draft resembled absolute crap. And you can too. Then – when the horrific thing is in place – go back and rewrite that monster until it really is shiny and beautiful.
- Reward Yourself. Set up a system and chart your progress. For every goal you reach reward yourself – a new book, ice-cream, a massage, taking a long bath – whatever motivates you to keep writing. This is a really important step – don’t overlook rewarding yourself!
- Set a goal and stick to it. 45,000 words? Terrific. 10,000? Great. Whatever your goal, break it up into smaller weekly goals or even daily ones. And again, keep track of your progress.
- When your goal is reached, it’s time to edit that dream novel into something readable. Join a writer’s workshop. If there aren’t any in your area, you can join an online one. Or set up a blog. The key is to create a support community as you go through the ups and downs of the editing process. Give yourself a time limit to finish editing your book. Some need a month, others need a few years, some take much longer. A year is a pretty good time frame.
- When you have your novel polished to perfection, it’s time to get it published. Here is where your support group is really necessary. Don’t overlook self-publishing, but be careful to choose a reliable publisher.
Once your novel is published, don’t go on permanent vacation! Set up a website, blog with your readers, go to book signings – and of course: Start the next one!