I get it all the time when I tell people that I am a writer and published author. They tell me, “I wish I could write a book,” or “I thought about writing a book,” or “Some day I’m going to write a book” – so when are you going to start?
Then I hear the excuses, “I don’t know how to write,” or “I don’t know where to start,” or “Nobody would be interested in what I have to say,” etc, etc, etc. If I pressure them a bit, then they may try to change the subject. I think many people have a romantic idea of what writing is all about. The truth is, the writing itself is very easy and is completely natural for most; it is our negative thoughts about it that gives the greatest difficulty. There is a book in each and every one of use that needs to come out and there is one person waiting to read it.
Writing is very much like going to the bathroom; it’s in you and it needs to come out. Sometimes it just crap, and other times it’s a very relieving experience. But the reason you do it is always the same – you have to!
I think people who want to write get confused between writing just for the sake of it, and wanting to write a book or article. They don’t really know why they want – they just want to – because. Believe me “because” is good enough. However, if you think you are going to write a book and it’s going to be a million seller, you are most likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Of the thousands of books written every year, very few are published and even fewer are best sellers, and even less are million sellers.
It is not my intention to discourage you from writing; quite the opposite; I want to encourage you to write something, anything; just get started!
There is a very simple writing process that I teach people that is full proof. Anyone can write a word, anyone can turn that word into a sentence, and that sentence can be made into a paragraph – anyone can do it, I promise. I will tell you how, and we’ll see if your thoughts of being a writer are just a whimsical idea; like being a rock star or movie actor and if there is a true desire to write.
Good books don’t just happen; they are created through hard work. The writing is the easiest part of creating or publishing a book and you can do it, if you have the desire. It’s all the other things, like proofing, publishing and marketing that scare many writers off.
Most people have a fear of making mistakes or not having the perfect book on the first draft. Those people who do have these fears will most likely never start. But I will tell you – all writers whether it is their first effort or they are seasoned writers, all have the same fears.
When I sat down this morning, I had no idea about what I was going to write about. I tossed around a few ideas and agonized over the title. It’s not very often that I have the thought before I sit down. The only thing I have before I start is the desire. An idea may come to my head, but then the ever present doubt comes, “what do I know about that,” or “I won’t have enough material to make a descent sized article?” Never is there the idea in my head that someone might not like it; that doesn’t enter my head because the truth is; I don’t care if anyone likes it – I write for myself first because it is in me to do so, and it needs to come out.
This thought allows me to move forward and start the title and first lines of the article or book; from there the material just begins to flow. The real bonus is that because I have done it for myself, the article or book is already a success, I am relieved and the paper work is done.
I will give you a very simple and short version of how to start you poem, article or book. This works every time and you cannot fail.
Find a place where you feel comfortable; many of us writers like the kitchen table and there are some good reasons for that. It is a place that is familiar and a place where we have experienced many things. The ghosts of family members and friends and others are sitting there with us. Their images are opportunities for a story, poem or article.
Many people start off thinking they will write their memoirs and are quickly turned around by what comes out. An experienced event may turn into a philosophical book about things you never thought you knew anything about and now you have become an expert.
I never thought that I was spiritual, certainly not religious; but I have been writing spiritual material for eight years and my books are selling in nine countries and my articles are being read all over the world – who would have thought?
You need to bring something to the table; how about a pencil, pen and paper. Leave it on the table and don’t do anything; just get comfortable with the idea that it is there and so are you – don’t think!
Let your mind wonder and take no notice of what you are doing or why, this is a form of meditation, but with one exception. In meditation we want to get into a state of nothingness and try to stay there as long as possible. Here we want to get to that state then notice a thought, when the thought comes to our awareness, write it down quickly. Then go back to your meditation. Note here that it doesn’t matter what the thought is, just write it down.
This is stupid; I’m sitting here wasting my time!
This table is dirty!
The neighbour and his damn lawnmower; I can’t concentrate!
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog!
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party!
I’ve got better things to do!
This is not working!
Congratulations, you’re a writer; this is what we do.
Now, you just need to do this again sometime. Throw your paper into the garbage, and put away your pen. The only difference between what you have done and what I do is that I write a few more words than you.
The biggest mistake most beginners make is that they think their spelling, grammar, structure and style have to be perfect – wrong! Never think about these things. The whole idea of what you just did was the same as going to the bathroom – you got to get the crap out – it’s a start. If you get to the point where you have written a book; there are people you can pay to make changes and corrections – don’t worry about it. I will make the same mistake with this article as you will. I will proof read it myself at least three times and then submit it to my site for people to read. The worst person to proof read your material is you. There are very few successful authors that do all their own proofreading, except for those of us who can’t afford to have someone do it for us. If you are the only one that is going to be reading your work, then that doesn’t even matter; just write.
After you have practiced this little exercise a few times, you are going to be amazed at what begins to flow from you. It will more than likely be something completely different than what your initial thoughts were. You must keep going and see where it takes you – that is the excitement. Trust me; you will be going on a wonderful trip. What you do with your writing after you have done it doesn’t matter if you have written for yourself first. If others will receive benefit from what you have done, great; that is a bonus for you and you may even earn some money for you effort. But your greatest reward comes from doing it.
If your desire comes from a true state of being a writer, your one, two or three words will work into sentences, paragraphs and books. It happens automatically despite the fact that you may think it doesn’t. If you continue with this exercise, I guaranty something extraordinary will happen; what you do with it will be another thing; at this time it doesn’t matter. The whole point of this article is to get you to begin somewhere. How much effort does it take to write one word? In my genre, two words describe perfectly what life is all about, they are “I Am” and it is all you need to know. “I Am and writer” is a declaration life being a writer. Even if you write down “I can’t do this,” you have succeeded. Now that’s a great title for a new book!
It was not my intention this morning to write an article about writing that would help you get started along your new journey – it just flowed out of me.
PS, I didn’t think I would get past the first paragraph with this article; I am one day late to post it to my web site; but it is done in spite of my doubts.