Have you ever experienced that awkward “oh” followed by the nodding of the head and a slight pitying glance cast your way right after you tell someone you are writing a book? Maybe it’s just me. But it happened more often than not when I shared this little secret of mine: I wanted to be an author. But not only did I want to be, I was trying to be.
Now that my third book will soon hit shelves, those pitying looks have changed to looks of surprise and some pretty fun conversations. I continue to get contacts from friends, friends of friends, and strangers asking, “How do I write a book? Will you help me?” Originally, this overwhelmed me. A lot goes into writing a book. Where do I even begin to teach this? How do I know who will be dedicated to pursue this to the end? Major shout out to the mentors who took time to teach me. The sad truth is that not everyone who wants to write a book or says they are writing a book will ever finish it or see it published.
So how do you avoid falling into this category of a “wanna-be” or “wish-I-had?” No formula is perfect, but this worked for me and this is what I give people who ask me how to start. I had a lot of missteps. I spent a lot of money on training and books. Lost a lot of sleep. Cried a lot of tears. Wondered if I could really do this. Fell in love with characters and settings. But the bottom line is…I tried. And I’m still trying. My writing journey is still a work in progress. But I am always willing to help those who try. My guess is, if you are taking the time to read this, on some level you are serious about making your dream a reality.
- How bad do you want this?
- Know that this is a long journey. How bad do you want it? Have others affirmed this gifting in you (other than your mom)?
- Ask why this story should matter to others.
- Learn how to develop a story.
- Buy books. Take classes. Do writing exercises. Join a writing group.
- Write a couple of short stories. Study dialogue, plot, character development.
- Brainstorm your idea.
- Determine what research needs to take place
- Buy books on the topic/Check out the library
- Write down your ideas/get something on paper
- Start writing.
- Most companies won’t look at your work until you are finished. Finish the book. Write, rewrite, write again.
- When you are finished, research publishers that print in your genre. Look into agents that represent your genre.
- Purchase tools on writing a book proposal.
- Pray; and be ready for rejection. If this is something you really want and others have affirmed, then keep going
- Connect with other writers in your stage.
- Local writer’s groups are a great beginning, and there are also some online!
- Develop relationships with people who love story.
- Ask people to critique what you have, and request honest, tough feedback. Then change your work accordingly.
Prayer + Passion + Perspiration = Success