Zero to eBook in 30 days – Write your first book (part 3 of 6)
STEP 4: JOT IT DOWN
This is the place where everyone goes wrong; if you are going to write the next best-selling juicy romance, then you must start writing! How many people have you talked with that would LOVE to write a book, have a million ideas, when they watch movies, they could do it better and yet – have never written down a single word. If you make a list of those people, you could fill a few writing volumes without any storylines needed. You must start writing to get to where you are headed, and that doesn’t mean sit down and outline every nitty-gritty detail until you are so obsessed with an outline that the twenty-five years have passed in your obsessive-compulsive perfection-seeking quest. Start TODAY!
I never leave home without a notebook in my purse. This is not a neat journaling endeavor that I partake in but feel free if you want to do that. My notebook looks a lot like the inside of my brain and is a scary place for anyone to visit. I keep sticky notes on my desk in my office and home, and many times something someone says or a thought crosses my mind, and I job nonsensical reminders on the sticky note and put it in my book on the appropriate page bookmarked for story ideas. Unfortunately, I would never recommend having so many projects going at one time; we will focus on one for you. But as you start to think about this story, it will come to life, and inspiration should strike at the most inopportune moments. Jot them down. The book isn’t for full sentencing or complete chapters – although if so inspired, go for it. Writing and creative thinking is like a muscle that must be exercised, unfortunately, it doesn’t always flex when you want it to. People, life, and events will trigger moments that will add value to your plot and should be taken down for prosperity.
Now, this little keeper of written inspiration goes home with you and onto whatever writing space you designate for your more serious writing adventure. As you start typing, and this should occur daily, but we will discuss that shortly, take these gems out of your journal, notebook, or whatever vessel you choose and look at them. The juices are simmering, and the story is coming together from that napkin outline above to a paragraph, then a chapter, and soon – well, 30 days from now it will be something people will want to read, but we have lots of lovemaking, kissing mishaps and tension building scenes to construct to make that happen. This should become a regular, daily occurrence of gathering inspiration and verbally throwing it up onto storylines in cyberspace. I always recommend typing as we are on a deadline here, and while writing may work for some people, it is aggressive to keep that kind of redundancy in our timeline toward publishing greatness.
STEP 5: ORGANICALLY LET THE STORY FLOW
As for daily writing and ensuring you jot, type, regurgitate and create daily, this is CRITICAL to your success. You must set a goal and stick to it, no exceptions. If you are an early riser, and 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily is your goal, then you sit your pajama-clad bottom in the chair and stare at the screen if you have nothing working through your fingers to the keyboard. If you want to give 14 days of your 30 for the first draft of a 10,000 novella, then you type no less than 666 words a day and don’t set a timeline for this. Whatever the goal, you must set it and stick to it; in this project plan, you have must reach critical milestones if we are going to be ready to hit that button to deliver our romance gem to the world on day 30.
Now comes the part you are going to either HATE or LOVE – the story flows organically based on the simple napkin outline, the cast of characters you created, and the tiny gems you jot down during the day. The story will come as you sit facing those keys in front of you, reach out and start. Sometimes you will just need to put the title on the page; sometimes, you start a paragraph describing the main character. You are then followed by what they are doing for a job. Where did they meet this love interest that you know they will end up with? Keep asking yourself questions and keep typing. Hit your word count or time in front of the computer screen EVERY DAY, no exception. And keep typing, don’t fix the mistakes you invariably will make. If you think that you could tighten up something you already finished, go ahead,
I remember once writing one of my first novel-length offerings, and I was in the car just typing my little heart out. In a critical scene, I couldn’t get the tone and the interactions the way I felt they needed to go. After taking a small break and stretching my legs, I got in and started letting my brain take charge of the story, and it went to war with my heart. This was a romance story, and the happily ever after dictated that the heroine conquer an unbelievably bad antagonist. I let the words flow as the scenes played out in my head until two hours had passed, and I looked up visibly shaken. My daughter looked at me and asked what the problem was; I just stared back at her and said, “she died.” My daughter was so confused and couldn’t understand how I didn’t just change the ending to be something else, but I couldn’t force it in the direction I wanted. The happily ever after was a bit supernatural in tone but ended up working.
Great authors and writers see these scenes play out in their minds, like a movie on a screen. Let the words flow, and don’t stop worrying about punctuation, grammar, dialogue, and all the buzz words you hear in the publishing field. There will be time for that; let’s keep you writing and letting the story flow. As you get further into this project, you will begin hearing the voices. Yep, good news, the voices writers hear can’t be silenced by medication, just by writing their stories out on paper. As you begin telling a story, this funny thing happens where you will suddenly and clearly understand how a storyline was to progress, end or turn a corner at the most inopportune moments. Remember the “Jot it down” step, pull that tool out and take note – when you can get back to your manuscript – let the story flow from your fingers.
This is not a nine-to-five job, and there is no perfect formula. You will figure yours out as time goes along and your writing process refines. Right now, let the story come out through your fingers; remember you should have a goal every day of a word count or a time spent staring at a screen if we are going to hit that 30-day mark – and time is continuing to march. Obsessing is a killer of deadlines at this stage. If you get the most horrific 15,000 words on a white background – you succeeded where thousands of others have failed. Take all that gibberish and give it structure that someone other than you will appreciate in the next few steps.
When you hit the magic word count, or maybe the day, you simply know the story is done. Then let it simmer. DO NOT GO on to step 5 until at least 24 hours have passed. This is critical as you need to give yourself emotional space and prep for the next phase. Writing is physically and more emotionally taxing than you ever knew before you flung yourself into this new arena. Between tasks, you really need to give yourself a mental break to switch gears.
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