In fourth grade it was all about the paper, the staples, and the cover art. I knew the story would be exhilarating, a true epic born of my gifted mind. I’d create the perfect format, making sure the page edges lined up and my author name was spelled right, then the words would just show up.
I may have had great collating skills and well-channeled artistic energy, but I hadn’t invested enough time learning how to develop a story. My hero never launched into the unknown to save the girl because I didn’t know how to equip him for the battles ahead.
Here are a few tips from what I’ve learned to help you start writing your book.
Tip #1 – Write
Start writing on something you love to think about, something you’ve got to say, or just ramble. The point is, write. Don’t be afraid to start small. Remember that a tiny seed contains the power to grow into a huge tree.
“Who [with reason] despises the day of small things (beginnings)?’ ” (Zechariah 4:10a AMP).
Tip #2 – Keep Writing
This is a little harder, but you need to commit to what’s important to you, something that’s as necessary as breathing. I apply this quote, from a famous Scottish mountaineer and writer, to my own writing.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” – William Hutchison Murray.
Tip #3 – Feed your Writer’s Soul
Go to conferences, take classes, study reference books, watch tutorials on YouTube. And read voraciously, both fiction and non fiction. Try not to quit in the middle of any book, but read through to learn from what you think are its weaknesses.
Taking breaks is necessary. Do what it takes to stay committed. I do the bulk of my writing at home, so I like to leave the house and experience a different environment for a short spurt. Maybe it’s just stepping out to pet my dog or taking a quick trip to visit my parents.
Tip #4 – Get Feedback
How can you know you’re communicating effectively if readers don’t respond to what you’re saying? The root of the word communicate means to participate or share. Communication requires more than one person, so get together with people who will critique your work and help you do better.
Don’t stop writing till your story is told. When you’re done, I know someone who might help you with the stapler.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis