You are almost there! You have been a part of this book writing journey 11 months. That is nothing to sneeze at, dear writer! One of my hopes in all of this lies in whether or not you gleaned strength and wisdom on how to keep writing the book that you want. One of the things that you are going to have to confront is the bravery to keep going. Ergo, THE SMOOTH OUT.
THE SMOOTH OUT.
Noun (in the JBHarris lexicon).
This is the process by which you take the draft you are working on, and/or after revision, you are pushing towards publishing a certain work; considering current work for another revision.
This part of the writing process has to be mentioned, because it requires you to be serious, and be intentional about the work you have completed.
Don’t be afraid to examine.
Don’t be afraid to afraid and rework it.
Don’t be afraid to…continue if the story dictates.
Don’t be afraid to keep going…as the story dictates.
One of my favorite people to follow on social media (read: TikTok), is George Lee (TikTok: @consciouslee). He has this quote that I ascribe to: “Research over Me-search“. As a writer, I cannot agree with this more! There is a portion of writing that deals with, even requires, that you allow your imagination to run! It requires that your creative prowess be at its absolute peak in order to create the work or world you want.
Don’t think of research as drudgery: it isn’t! Think of research as brick and mortar for a work. It is an essential part of working on a project. Research has a dual power–foundation for your imagination, and ‘sturdiness’ for your reader. The more accurate and detailed you make a story, the more believable your story! Details are what draw your reader in! Don’t skimp on them!
When you start a new project, especially if fiction or non-fiction, a degree of its creation is powered by your talent, the other is a degree of research. The amount and depth of research depends on the need of the story. It is always better to have a wealth of research before you start, than to stop your momentum in order to research.
Now, here is the tricky part!
Sometimes the story (especially, fiction!) will take you points where research can only help! It could be a street map, a globe, airport codes, or even local history–research matters! Think of it as another way to fuel the fire of the story. Research is snacking for your imagination! So forth and explore the worlds outside your own head!
Research Tip #1:
Label your research! This can be bookmarks or a digital file, but label them! This way your work won’t be lost and can be easily organized.
Organization is the key to your writing focus! It will keep your sanity as well as your stamina! Make sure that you are taking the time to review what you have in order to lay the foundation for the work that you want to do.
Use this acronym to help: KEYS.
Keep all files label.
Evaulate what you need to do next.
Yield time to what you must do (*scheduling is important).
Save your work in two places.
With Love & Ink,
Note: Listen to THE WRITERS’ BLOCK PODCAST 3/14 for more about KEYS.
Let me remind you of one thing, and I hope that it repeats over and over in your mind.
“Do not write like someone is looking over your shoulder.”
If you write like someone is looking over your shoulder, you will never write! It is essential for you to know the first person you write for is yourself–no one else! The story you want to write needs to be the one you want to write.
This is an essential part of your brainstorming!
There is market for your book! There are people whom are willing to read it! You must be brave enough to write what you want to write regardless of the people around you who may not like what you want to write (Pin in that: We will discuss this in March under theme KEEPING FOCUS).
As you being to construct your story, as you begin your project, remember no one can see inside your head. The image you have for you story you are going to have to develop! You are going to have to write the story you see–so then the world can see what you saw all along.
The first rule of writing, which will help you forever, is this: your imagination is yours. And only yours. All the things you dream up, want to create all belong to you. Since this powerful tool belongs to you, the power to create (and destroy) belongs to you. And just you.
With this confidence in mind, I want you to remember that what you create–you (and only you) will see first!
Before you start writing, I want you to get accustom to thinking about what you want to write about. And really begin to think about what you want to create. The more comfortable you are with it, the more you will want to write it down.
Here are some tips to help with brainstorming:
1.) If an idea reoccurs more than twice, that’s a queue to write it down.
2.) Think about the time of day that you feel most productive. Try writing at this time, or recording ideas that reoccur at this time.
3.) Isolate some time to think about what you want to write about. That dedicated time will help with creativity.
4.) Remember to be patient with yourself. Writing is a process. It is a marathon and not a sprint.
It’s only month two–we got a while to go. I believe in you. Keep going.
So you have decided to write a book. The next question I know that you’re asking is, “Now what do I do?” The answer for that is this:
A freewrite is a mind dump! It is an exercise I will always recommend due to the ability and freedom it grants a writer. It is a way to explore an idea without judgement. Without criticism. Without the fear that you don’t think it sounds right.
A freewrite should be based on the idea you want to write your book about. This tool works for fiction and non-fiction as well! The goal with this exercise is to capture your idea (no matter what it is) long enough to put it on paper or screen.
Forget the spelling mistakes. Forget grammar. Forget cohesion (for the moment. Put a pin in that–we will come back to that later). Your goal is to write down what you want to write–not what you think people want you to write. And sometimes that can be difficult! However, it is not impossible! You can do it, you must do it, one word at a time.
Quick tip: To stave off anxiety, you can set a timer for 30 minutes when you are prepared to write. Whatever you write in this time–is a win! If you feel lead to write more, reset your timer and start again.
Toni Morrison said that the book you want to read, you might just have to write.
It is with that motivation in mind, I tell you this: The fear of writing a book is normal.
I say it again: THE FEAR OF WRITING A BOOK IS NORMAL.
It is scary to put your thoughts in a place where not just you will be able to read them. It is completely valid to think you can’t, you won’t, you shouldn’t and you should abandon all thought of it! Let this month, be the hug you need to reassure–as well as the nudge forward to begin.
It’s always the scariest part right before you begin! That will never change–you just learn how to manage it!
So where are three things I want you to keep in mind which will minimize your anxiety, which will only fuel your apprehension:
1.) Recognize the fear is normal. You’re creating a new thing! That is nerve-racking! But it is normal.
2.) Realize that no book or story is written overnight. You do have time.
3.) Remember that you are in control of the story. How fast or how slow–you are the one that is flying the plane.
Good Morning! This the first day of the new year and this year will be the focus of writing your book. No matter how long you have waited to write it, to matter how scared you have been to start it! This is safe space to get encouragement to write the story you want–like you want! Consider this your friendly reminder that your book isn’t going to write itself–and you must write it.