Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to Write a Novel, Part 1: Getting started

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After all of the planning the white page sits before you and there is that moment every day of your journey as a writer where you have to...well, write.  Some days admittedly it is like sweeping the torrent of words from your head into a collection on the page.  Other days the white page taunts you, I think I have heard it laugh at me a few times.

All writers face the same struggles with the first is a daily and sometimes hourly fight.  The key is to find a routine.  But then again that can also be the most difficult part discovering what your routine is as a beginner.  Here are some things I have found that work for others and for myself.  

  • Routine is paramount. As a teacher with a second job and a family (mostly fury, but whatever,) I know that every morning when I get up at 6am I will be producing a blog post.  I know that I will be writing in my book that night.  My mind knows it and accepts it.  It is routine to not get a ton of sleep and to wake up and unwind by writing.  I have my set "office" it is on the sofa with my feet kicked up and the television running.  A drink will be at my side and a smelly dog will be sharing the sofa with me. At night I know I mean business when the ear buds are plugged in.  That is a visual cue to the family not to bother me because I am doing work.  Even when I am not in "the mood" to write the ritual of doing these gets me ready.  It pulls me into the state of creating. 
  • Smells are magical.  Every writer I follow on blogs or have seen information on has some sort of sent that triggers in the brain that this is writing time.  Some prefer the smell of coffee.  The caffeine is the added bonus and after writing for 30 days with coffee next to you the smell will tell you that it is time to write. If coffee is not your thing then light that favorite candle, or rub in that favorite lotion.  If you start by using smell it will be the easiest way to get you a jump start for the day.  
  • Ask other writers.  Some writers keep it as a guarded secret fearing that revealing the routine they use will end its magical powers.  Others want to spill it all.  There are a plethora of post online for suggestions about this very topic. 
    • I found this article in a 2008 copy of the Wall Street Journal, titled How to Write a Great Novel.  It is a book review of the very topic...the starting place of writing.  Some of it does make writers look a bit nutty.  We are some of us are.  
    • 20 Ways to Keep Your Writing Inspiration and Creativity High is an interesting take.  Some of the suggestions are a bit more mystical than others.  
    • Advice for Writers is an interesting post about getting started. In it there are some interesting suggestions regarding time management initially.  
The bottom line is we have to write.  Turn off the internet, and shut out the distractions put pen to paper.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, I think I'll try rosemary as my scentspiration. Too bad my office is in a dark, dank basement, or I'd put a pot of rosemary down here. Maybe I'll just hang a sprig from the light fixture.