Friday, March 6, 2015

Are You New To This Whole Writing Thing?

If you're anything like me, you probably always wanted to write. You dreamed of seeing your books on the shelf at the local book store and taking pictures of yourself pointing at the book. You announced "some day I'm going to write a book" to everyone you know. And you tried to work out a time in your life where you could sit down and do just that.

Well, your time has now arrived and you have no idea where to start - or even what to write about. What do you do now?

Good question.

I remember that day vividly, the day I decided I would be come an author. It was the day I met Lizzie, one of my author friends. She had come in to the restaurant I worked at and was one of my customers. (Funny how things happen. As if it was meant to be.)

I asked her if she was a writer, and she readily admitted to being one and introduced me to her editor who happened to be having lunch with her. When I told her I always wanted to write, it became the start of a long and fruitful friendship "At least fruitful for me", and she never stopped encouraging me - even to this day.

There are some basic tips and guidelines to getting started, but I think number one is, you need some support. Writing a book is not an easy endeavor, even if you've written ten books. I will list some suggestions on getting started. They sound easy enough and should help get you going, but as you will find out there's nothing simple about writing a novel.

1. As I said above, you need support. 
    One of the hardest things is finding a quiet space with extra time to sit down and just write. There is always something to interrupt your creative time, such as making dinner, bathing the kids, a job, running errands, but this is where the support comes in. Either your spouse of significant other could take some of the chores off your list to give you that creativity space. Even call your parents, or a friend to watch the kids for you so you can have that extra time. But I must warn you it is not an easy thing for your loved ones to accept. They don't understand your need to write, so this first step is one of the hardest to accomplish. They all seem to look at your writing as a hobby.

2. Sit down alone and figure out what genre you plan to write in, and the basic gist of the story. 
     Another toughy - figuring out what to write. There are so many fiction novels out there. The market is saturated with them. So my best advice is write what you love to read. Or at least attempt to. I always read thrillers, mysteries, and international intrigue. I also enjoyed historical fiction. When I attempted to write a murder mystery I found I couldn't wrap my mind around having a serial killer as a character. I just couldn't think like a nutcase, so I then realized the other genre I loved, and the types of shows I watched on TV - Fantasy fiction. I had found my niche.

Once I did that, next was figuring out the basic story line. I knew I didn't want to use the same fantasy characters that most writers used, such as Vampires and Witches. I wanted characters that were more unique. After establishing what kind of creature, the rest started to fall into place.

3. Create a character outline. 
     You don't have to come up with every character at the beginning of this process, just the main ones and a few secondary to get you started. Write down their, descriptions,  attributes, basic personalities, what they do for a living, that kind of thing. As you go along you will add to this list, but for now, you can begin the manuscript.

4. Write a basic outline of the book. 
     Again, this is just a beginning, not the entire book. What are your goals for your main character? Is there a quest? Where do the secondary characters fit in? Who is the antagonist and how will they interfere with the protagonist? Do you have a message, such as women's rights, or saving the planet?

5. Write out your first chapter. 
     I know it will be rough, and you will probably change it fifty times, but it's a start. It will get your creative juices flowing. 

6. Join a writing group or classes. 
     I avoided this little piece of advice for a long time, and I wish I hadn't. I think it was more embarrassment on my part. I didn't think I was much of a writer, but you don't have to share until you feel comfortable enough to do so. What is beneficial is you will learn a lot about creative writing skills and meet a lot of wonderful people. Some of which will become lifelong friends. And you want to talk about support?! Other writers completely understand your plight and will be by your side. 

7. Keep going! Never quit!
     This one is self-explanatory, but always good to hear. Just remember you are a work in progress. No one is the perfect writer, and there's always something new to learn. Be open to it and last, but not least, put on your thick skin - you're going to need it.

I hope these seven tips help you to get started on the wild ride or writing. Life's too short to put your dream on the back burner, so go for it!

Have a wonderful week, and don't forget, look for new things happening on my website Djenworld

Love, Lisa


  1. Thank you Lisa for reminding us of the keys to writing especially the don't quit !
    have a pleasant day with lots of new writing.

    1. Thanks Susan! I appreciate your comments and support!

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