So you want to start writing your first book but you're stuck, can't get another word down, maybe not even the first word. You're anxious about getting it done but you haven't even started!
There are a number of "how-to" resources available but the only thing you need to do right now is to take the advice of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to heart. Carpe Diem!
Lose This Day Loitering
Lose this day loitering, t'will be the same story
Tomorrow, and the next more dilatory;
Each indecision brings its own delays,
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute!
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated!
Begin it, and then the
work will be completed!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It's true, the longest journey begins with a single step. Take it, then another, and another! Some editors will help even at this early stage.
Countless people spend years planning, constructing outlines, planning some more, researching, reading books and browsing websites on how to write well, or some other variation on the theme, and all they produce is a whole lot of nothing... paralysis by analysis... too much dithering and not enough doing! Sooner or later you have to take yourself seriously and begin. How about right now?
"Ya, Okay, just as soon as I have time to focus and really concentrate on it," you say.
More paralysis! A lot of "time to focus" is extremely elusive in today's world. Forget it! All the time you really need is just five minutes grabbed here and there between other activities. If you can squeeze out more than five minutes, great! Enough sessions of just a few minutes duration can be woven into a masterpiece... well, at least enough material to comprise a draft you can send to your editor.
But, don't get ahead of yourself with worries about getting it published! That's just crazy-making pressure you don't need. For now, just focus on writing for it's own sake, empty your mind, your soul, your well of inspiration. Get it down!
Do you need to be a Hemingway to publish a good book? No!
Midlife is often characterized as the time when people change careers, change wardrobes, change residences and, sometimes, men in particular, it's time to go out and buy a new sports car or... a new partner!
Most often, thankfully, the changes are not so traumatic as all that. A lot of us are content to settle for a slower, more reflective lifestyle, perhaps including such new activities as yoga or painting or, yes... writing, be it poetry, short stories, personal memoirs, travelogues or something else. Why not? And keep the spouse you've got.
A virtual library of good books is available to help fledgling scribes, young and not so young, well-established and beginners. And supplementing the plethora of very good books are enough groups, courses and websites on the craft to fit every genre and every aspiration. But you don't want to become a perpetual student and never actually get around to doing it.
Late bloomers with a collection of memoirs they want to publish, for example, and probably most fledgling authors, can do a very credible draft of their manuscript if they keep just three principles in mind:
1. Develop a regular
practice of writing. Just do it, and do it a lot!
2. Develop your author's voice and style, which comes with lots of just doing it!
3. Ensure that clear communication happens in your work. Test it by having someone you trust read your copy, and when you’re finished, hire an editor.
For really good help, one book in particular, The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, is a must read. It offers all kinds of tips and exercises to get you involved in the craft.
Getting your first book published is, of course, dependent upon how well you write, but it also has to do with what you write, your research, your marketing strategy, whether you self publish or not, etc. etc. Most of all, it has to do with your partner in the process... your editor!
Unless you're planning a "one-off" career as an author, doing a credible job, regardless of whether your book is a work of fiction, non-fiction, a children's book, or free verse poetry, editing is essential! Unless you're planning to hire a ghost writer, which is another matter altogether, you are the only one that can do that part, but you are NOT the one to edit your manuscript.
A good editor can be what determines whether a publisher even looks at your book or not. If your book is full of preventable errors, the chances of it selling are poor while the chances of your being embarrassed are great!
Once your book, resume, or other writing project is professionally edited you have to make decisions around your publishing options. Which will you choose?
1. A traditional commercial,
mainstream or trade publisher?
2. A print-on-demand publisher?
3. Or will you choose independent or custom publishing?
Regardless of the option you choose, publishing is complicated and not to be taken lightly. A whole raft of elements and factors must be planned out and brought together. Go to the navigation bar and click on the publishing pages for more information.