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This year marks my seven year anniversary of being a published author! Over the years, I’ve learned a lot, but the secret Krabby Patty formula for “great writing” every time I sit down to write, just isn’t one of them. Why not? Because there isn’t one—at least not a “cookie cutter” one that fits every author and their individual writing style.
Before you screw up your face with confusion, hear me out. I am the secret sauce of my books, just like you are or will be for yours. With that being said, I’ve listed 3 ways to get or keep you inspired when it comes to sitting down and writing your book no matter what your writing style may be.
Make every moment count
As a writer, there’s nothing worse than sitting down to write and then all of a sudden your mind completely goes blank. Now you’re staring at a blank screen while the blinking cursor of death taunts you. When this happens, it’s okay to step away from the computer. But, if you’re determined to write something…anything, then try looking online for some short writing prompts. Pinterest is FILLED with them. (Just try not to get sucked down the rabbit hole of pinning millions of other things while you’re on there looking for prompts.) I know, I know…easier said than done.
Create an outline
When it comes to writing a new book, I cannot fully start to write without doing some sort of outlining first. Not only does creating an outline help to structure your book—it will help you stay on track, write faster and help you to see where there may be any holes in your plot. When creating an outline, there are a bunch of ways you can do it. It’s really all about what feels comfortable for you. Personally, I usually outline chapter by chapter. This means, I will sit down, draft out about how many chapters my book will have and then write out the events that will transpire in that chapter that will lead us into the next.
What really helps me outline are whiteboards, dry erase markers and space. Sometimes it’s just too hard for me to sit and outline an entire book on a laptop screen. Before I had a dedicated glass board installed in my home office, I would simply go to Wally World, grab a few white Styrofoam poster boards and a pack of multi-colored dry erase markers, and start making my outline.
PRO TIP: You can also grab a pack of multi-colored sticky notes and outline your book that way.
In my course, “Booked & Busy: The Building Blocks for Writing Your First Book in 60 Days While Working a Full-Time Job,” I go over these other outlining options:
§ Outlining in reverse (starting at the end and writing the story backwards)
§ Randy Ingermanson’s “Snowflake Method” (starting with one small idea and then expanding from a sentence to a paragraph and then a full page)
§ Skeleton (listing key plot points only, no dialogue, no depth)
§ Character outline (fully developing your characters and letting that fuel the story as you go)
Write good. Write bad. Just write.
If you are expecting sheer perfection out of your first draft, let me tell you that is almost next to impossible. Don’t expect anything you write to be perfect from the jump. Consider your first draft to be a work in progress that you will use to just flush out all of your ideas. Once you’ve finished it, THEN it will be time go back in from the very firsts page and start making all the tweaks, alterations, deletions, etc. that you may need. The key here is to just get the words out of your head and onto the screen or notebook.
PRO TIP: It may be hard, but try not to edit mercilessly as you go. This will only slow you down.