I know a lot of people who want to write a book. They have stories and characters in their heads that they can talk about for hours. But what they don’t have is words written down on a page. The hardest part about writing a book is...writing it. Sitting down every day or once a week to type out thousands of words until you have a coherent story.
I’ll be honest, finding the motivation to write for my memoir was much easier because I wrote most of those essays as class assignments in grad school. Also, many of those memoir pieces began as journal entries (I write those every day). However, writing my novel post-grad school was a different game. I didn’t have professors holding me responsible for my writing. I had to hold myself responsible for it.
In a previous blog, I talk about my outlining process. This was one of the most helpful ways I stayed on track and was able to motivate myself to write at least 3-5 hours a week.
I had outlines for each chapter of my book written on an index card. This way, when I sat down to write, I didn’t just have a blank screen in front of me, I also had notes--something to build on. It was much less scary this way. I would just focus on my goal of getting through the points/scenes I had outlined on my index cards so I always knew what to write next and never fell into a writer’s block. That doesn’t mean I wrote every scene and every dialogue perfectly. My goal for the initial draft was just to get the story down and my characters fully developed.
I will talk about my revision process later in this series. However, I decided to leave perfection for another time. All of this took a lot of pressure off of me so I could just write. I found myself zooming through each chapter. Was each chapter perfect and complete? No. As you know, most of writing is rewriting/editing. You can’t expect to write something new and have it be perfect and ready to publish all in one go. That’s way too much pressure on yourself and it’s just not realistic. Every writer needs editing/revision.
After finishing my research and outlining process, it took me about 6 months to finish my first draft because I only wrote 3-5 hours a week. There were some weeks where I didn’t write at all (the world is a mess right now so I had to give myself a break once in a while). Some writers have a word count goal for every week. I didn’t. I set my goals according to chapters instead. I would try and finish one chapter a week minimum. This technique helped me get through and type out my first 40,000 word draft. Was this draft ready to pitch to agents/publishers? No. But now I had a whole book. A mediocre book, but a whole book. My revision process is what will take my book from mediocre to great.
Now that I am in the revision stage, I am enjoying the process of elevating my writing. I am able to spend more time on details and descriptions and making sure there are no holes in the story. I don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty parts of the story. It is already written. It's all about polishing it up and getting it ready to pitch.
All of the things I shared in this blog can help motivate you or ease you into writing your book. However, the most important thing is that you have to motivate yourself to write every day or every week. Writing is a habit. I write every day, even if I am not working on my novel. The more regularly you write, the easier it will be to get through writing a book. Try writing a daily journal or morning pages right after you wake up every morning. Get in the daily habit of writing and before you know it, you will have a whole book!
In my upcoming blogs, I will share more of my process with you and, soon, I will introduce you all to my characters. I would also love to hear about your experiences and suggestions that could make this journey more fun and interesting for me. How do you motivate yourself to write? What techniques helped you finish writing your book(s)? Feel free to leave comments below or contact me personally through this website.
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Stay tuned for more #browngirlwrites blogs. Next blog: “My Revision Process: Elevating My Writing.”
Happy Writing! :)
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Art by Loso F. Perez of Prime Vice Studios
These blogs explore my writing process and highlight my favorite writers and books.