So you want to write a book…
I should probably start a tally of the amount of times I hear something along the lines of, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”
My answer is always—then do it!
Let’s not forget, I’m an accountant. I love my trade. I love working with spreadsheets and moving numbers around. And yes, I realize this makes me a nerd to most people. My answer to that is a nod and a shrug. It is what it is.
I also love the arts. I’ve dabbled in drawing and pastels, I’ve acted, and my first major in college was film. So when I spend all day with my face in a spreadsheet, my creative brain starts to rebel. I then daydream about different worlds and different people. This leads into story ideas. This leads into a concept.
So how did I get started with writing?
I sat down and began typing the daydream. That’s it. It is literally as simple as that.
Get yourself amerced in your own head, and suddenly you’re halfway through a story and can’t wait to finish. It’s like a good book, only it’s your fantasies (this is not limited to sexual stuff y’all—get your head out of the gutter).
My latest work (Into the Darkness) is of a girl that learns she has magic. How cool is that? It’s fun hunkering down into her shoes and living life with her. Realizing with her that she was the one that beat the villain. And that hunk…yeah, you’re meeting and falling in love with him as fast as your fingers can fly across the keyboard. Why wouldn’t you write? It’s a fun way to do and be anything you want.
So if you’ve always been thinking to yourself—I could write a book. Or—I have an awesome idea for a story. Or—that book I started was pretty good; I should keep going with that.
I say this to you—get your butt to that computer and start typing. I’ll quote Finding Forrester, “No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!”
This is one of my favorite quotes. And so true. There is nothing like getting lost in a world of your own devising. You don’t think you’re creative (or you know that you’re not creative), then don’t tax yourself. Have your story set in your home town.
Don’t have any ideas for characters? Are you a hermit (without friends for inspiration)? Yes? Okay, fine, start writing as yourself.
No idea what would happen in the book? Who cares—walk out your door.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” –J.R.R. Tolkien
It just occurred to me how many initials that guy had. Large name.
You know what they say about large names… Big…signature.
A character, maybe your mailman, gives you the evil eye. Is that because he killed someone last night and is worried you’re on to him? Or is it because he is the hottest guy you’ve ever seen in your life and wants you to stop being shy and go flirt.
Bottom line, react. Be a character (you count as a character) and react to things that happen. I find that through the reactions, which are split-second decisions on the keyboard, my characters are formed. And don’t worry if you finally “meet” your character halfway through the book. That’s what revisions are for. In film they say, “Fix it in post,” which means, fix it after the fact. To a writer, it simply means: revise. Finish the book, take your solid idea for a character, and then go to the beginning and incorporate those elements.
That sounds easy, so what’s the problem?
I know, Father Time. That guy is a huge jerk. Sometimes he’s around too much, but often he gives you a wave as he steals your stuff.
It then becomes necessary to make some trades. For example, I don’t watch much TV. Sitcoms don’t wow me that much so I’ve decided to write instead. Get lunch breaks? Well, if you’re in front of a computer, there you go. Write a few things down.
Not in front of a computer? Get a keyboard for your ipad.
Still living under a rock? Grab a stick, pull up some dirt, and make some magic happen.
When you can’t do those things, like when you’re driving, use my method of daydreaming: think about the story and what the characters do next. Then, once you start, you won’t be able to wait to get your hands on a keyboard. Or wrapped around a pen. What you first thought was mundane becomes a fantastic hobby.
Wouldn’t it be great if your hobby could also make you money? Well, then. No more excuses. Get to work.