Everyone has at least one good story in them. If you’ve been talking for years about finally writing yours down, maybe 2015 is the year for you to finally complete your novel, autobiography, or that tell-all on the neighbors you’ve been threatening for years.
JLT Edits can help you polish your finished manuscript, but before all that, you need to get the words on paper. And as everyone knows, that’s a lot harder than it sounds.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
Don’t forget to set aside time every day to write. The only way to finish is to start…and then be consistent. Write something every day, even if you go back and delete it the next day. Some days you may sit staring at the blank screen, wondering what happens next. Other days, when you feel inspired, the pages will seem to leap from your fingertips. But if you’re consistent, eventually words will become pages and whole chapters and the chapters will make up your book!
Don’t talk about it. When you have a great idea, you might be tempted to share your ideas with your best friend or your mom or your dentist or the girl who takes your coffee order. Don’t! Write it down! If you tell the story out loud, you’ll lose the urgency.
Don’t get bogged down in the details. That’s what revision are for. If you can’t think of a name for a character, name him Mr. Smith and keep going! Don’t think that everything you write needs to be perfect the first time (in fact, it’s not going to be). Your first draft is just that – a draft! Later, you’ll go back and edit, edit, edit, but don’t get ahead of yourself now. If you can type without worrying about pesky commas and periods, do it! Just get the story down.
Don’t think you have to write about what you know. Write about what you find interesting. Write about what you want to say. Write about something that no one knows because you just thought of it! Plenty of writers do research to get the details in their story right. So you want to write a time travelling novel set in 17th century England, but you don’t know anything about 17th century England. Just start writing! Then research the things you want to include and fix any anachronisms later (see number three!).
Don’t be afraid to let someone see it. Often when people pour their hearts and souls into this book, this novel, their baby, they get stuck trying to make it perfect or they feel it’s too personal to share or they wonder what Mother will think of the steamy scene in chapter 12. Whether you need help finishing a scene, working out the plot, or you just need an opinion on whether it’s good, there comes a time when you have to put it all out there for someone else to see.
So dust off that idea folder and let’s get busy!