We all have a book inside of us, and what a great time to banish your fear of writing than the New Year. With a blank slate, you can set a new goal to write a book. And don’t hold back, publish a book!
Ah, but as always, the end of the first month of the New Year ends as quickly as the holiday season. And so, too, do lofty goals and New Year resolutions. In fact, statistics show that by January 15, most New Year resolutions are a distant memory.
For most novice writers, this is as far as their writing effort goes. I know this from personal experience as a writing coach and editor. I get voluminous emails from people at this time of the year, they are eager to get started on their writing, or resurrect a manuscript they have yet to finish. Then they fade into oblivion until the next year.
Time has taught me that when writers are not prepared for the task of writing; they will lapse back into thinking about writing instead of writing. One reason could be because they jump in blind, and try to write by the seat of their pants without an organized and well thought-out plan/outline. Naturally, this leads to confusion and overwhelm.
It’s no secret that writing a book is a daunting task. It takes determination and grit. How do I know this? Allied to being a writing coach and editor, I’m also an author, and I’ve suffered everything novice writers are experiencing, from procrastination, lack of confidence, staring at a blank page, to rejection.
Every year I used to set a goal to write and publish my book, but didn’t follow through. Even though I’ve had a long standing love affair with writing, love to express my thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences in a creative way. That passion, however, didn’t make it easy to write a book. In addition, life got in the way. Well, that was one of my excuses.
Confusion and overwhelm was my problem and these emotions led to fear of not having what it takes to be a writer, because I essentially began writing without knowing where it would take me. But I rolled up my sleeves, did the grunt work and the rest is history.
So, how do you overcome this fear?
1. First, establish what your fear is. For most novice writers, it is lack of knowledge about the overall book process, as simplistic as this may seem. As such, ask pertinent questions such as:
a. “What kind of book do I want to write – fiction or nonfiction?”
b. “What is the book’s purpose; do I want to share a message or entertain readers?”
c. “Who are my readers — my target audience?”
a. “What will make my fiction book unique? Will readers connect and empathize because they can see themselves through the characters, if I were to write fiction? Will they relate to the plot and leave with a sense of satisfaction? Will they leave with a new perspective?”
d. “If I choose to write non-fiction, what solutions will my book provide? What results, changes, benefits, effects, and, or, results will it have on the readers.”
e. “What marketing strategies will I need to implement to get my book out into the world?”
These preliminary questions, and more, will allow you to see the bigger picture and is good research, for putting together your book’s proposal. In addition, your fear will diminish, because you know where you’re going.
You see, it isn’t only about writing. What good is a book if you don’t know who your readers are, and its purpose?
Brainstorming will help you to map out your book’s journey. It will help you to create a structure that will lead to you having the belief that your message, and, or, story, are worth sharing. Further, it will motivate you to write. Once you define the above. Next…
2. Brainstorm the content for your book. You have an abundance of information that you could inject into your writing, given this, write down all the wonderful ideas that are dominating your thoughts. Highlight those ideas that jump out at you and you will see that you have more than enough information to expand and develop into a premise, that will lead into ‘what if’ questions to help you generate conflicts for your plot and sub plots.
Seeing an outline before your eyes, instead of it all rumbling through your head, will build your confidence ten-fold and get your writing juices flowing. Being enthused is a great motivator.
3. Also, read books, take vocational courses to learn the skill of writing, otherwise known in the writing world as, ‘craft’, that is, the mechanics of constructing thoughts and ideas.
4. Learn to write in your own voice. Use your ‘content’ to reveal your own writing style to give it quality. Your writing must be top notch before you present it to an editor or publisher. The competition couldn’t be fiercer than at present, as the publishing business is changing rapidly and redefining its model due to the explosion of self-published books. You need to create quality content.
5. When you have your draft manuscript written to the best of your ability, invest in a professional editor to refine, revise and rewrite your work to make it the best it can possibly be.
6. You also need to be market savvy. Editors, agents and publishers look for many things when evaluating your book’s proposal; one aspect is whether you are marketable, and whether you understand the fundamentals of the publishing business. The marketability and market knowledge you have is of paramount importance now more than ever. This is true too, even if you choose to go the self-publishing route.
7. Use the new three hundred and sixty-five blank pages before you, and you’ll be the author of a book by the end of the year, if not before!
Write It, Work It, Publish it™
© 2013 Cherry-Ann Carew
Cherry-Ann Carew, aka The Power Writing Coach, Developmental Editor, Amazon best-selling author and Founder of Writetastic Solutions is passionate about helping aspiring fiction and non-fiction writers bring out their creative expression to write their books. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you Write It, Work It and Publish It™ at: http://www.writetasticsolutions.com.
Ladder to Success image courtesy of: “jscreationzs” FreeDigitalPhotos.net