HOW TO WRITE A BOOK:
A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR SOULPRENEURS
Article by Cinthia Singleton
Got the Great American Novel in you? Many do! Getting that story to page is most of the battle, especially now in this day and age of the more instant gratification ‘writing’ we do in the form of texting, messengering, Facebooking, tweeting and so forth. If our story can be told with these forms of writing, we’ll soon know but they aren’t exactly a memoir, are they? Nor are they the personal and historical story - fiction or non-fiction - we pass on to future generations.
So how do you open yourself up to the writing PROCESS and get to it with less storm and drag (and less procrastination)? Here are some simple (and EASY) steps to take to discipline yourself… basically, questions to ask as you begin your writing session or when you find that the words are hard to get out:
For whom are you writing? Them, the people you would like to remember you by way of your written word, your accomplishments? Those unknown souls from the Year 9595 who will one day delight with how you’ve documented a time? Is there an authority for whom you write to please - Mother, Father, the great William Faulkner who so inspires you or yourself and yourself only, to relive the past or re-tell the truth as only you care to know it? The Nobel Committee? Whoever it is, write to them, seeing them in your mind’s eye.
Dear [ Author at Age 65, 4th grade teacher, Writers Group, Mr. Faulkner ]: Allow me to tell you about the time I sang in the school talent show.
What are you writing anyway? Poem? Song? Historical romance novel? The raw performance rant? Whatever it is, have a clue. Prepare. Read. Research. Then create an outline. What if you’re one of those writers who simply has a story that needs to be told? “Need” as if to feed the soul or tend to an ache? It’ll happen if you start, but you still gotta have a plan in black and white. Outline. Reason for this is because by first being clear about what you’re trying to say, there’s more space for you to get really creative along the way. Also, who builds a house without blueprints?
Singing in the school talent show…
I. Loved to sing.
II. Practiced for weeks.
III. Mother made me a new dress for the show.
IV. Forgot the words.
V. Sang the wrong words, but the audience loved it.
Where do you write? From a quieter place we write; where is yours? Do you have an actual place that you call your own? A [desk, couch, table, office, coffee shop ] that is reserved for your creative process? A mental place from which your mind’s eye perches as if to watch the inner world go by? Whichever (or both) of these places, return to it like the birds to Capistrano. It’s a haven for your craft. Enter it with that passion, fire and fury, and what’s needed.
When do you work? If you say wherever there’s an inspired moment, why only then? Do you get much done? Try giving yourself a 1) schedule and 2) deadline. Even if you’re *just* writing the beginnings something - maybe a novel, maybe a short story, you’re not sure yet - there’s no reason why you can say, “I will have Childhood On The Farm written by [ your next birthday, Tuesday the 4th, in time for the class, etc. ]. Jotting down notes and over-heard conversations between writing sessions is allowed, but plant your fanny on that seat and tend to the words . If your mind is sharpest in the morning, try writing then. Fewer distractions once the kid’s in bed? Nighttime’s the right time to open up the laptop.
And how you work is easier when you have the Who-What-Where-When pinned down. This clarity helps firm up the INTENT. So when you get that focused time, actually seated before the screen, you are quicker out the gate, steadier on those hooves. Being amazing each and every session isn’t as important as your attendance, your writing cap on… then take a deep breath and begin typing.
That night of the school talent show? Well, it was a dark and stormy night….
Because writing feeds a need to tell that story about an event or share a unique observation… and you can’t not. ; )
This simple Who-What-Where-When-How mantra can be utilized each time you get sit down to work, get stuck or need grounding. It helps with that focus, that steely-eyed intent.
Break it off. Break it down. See me come and you can hear my sound . — Work B**ch, Britney Spears