Almost everyone has dreamed of writing a book. Whether it is a memoir detailing the interesting moments of their lives, or an exciting fantasy they’ve dreamed up in their heads, the desire to write is a common one. If you’ve ever wanted to get started on a novel of your very own, here are three things you need to do in order to be successful.
This very moment, even. The truth is so many books will never grace a library shelf, or change the world, or even be read at all because they’ve never been written. It’s one thing to talk about wanting to write a book or having an idea in your head, or simply liking the idea of writing a book. It is another matter entirely to sit down and write.
Most people never get past the desire stage, and it is truly the most difficult part. If you want to write a book, then start writing it. Even if you’re not really sure where to begin, it is fine to start with any idea you do have and work from there—even if all you’ve got is the ending or some odd scene in the middle. No one ever said a book had to be written in consecutive order.
Don’t get it right, get it written
Another common failing is to start editing the book before you’ve ever even finished it. Many novels have an incredibly polished and beautiful first chapter, and the rest of it is completely unfinished. When you are writing the first draft, don’t worry about how it sounds. Don’t fix it if it doesn’t sound the way you want it to. Don’t even fix the typos. It is okay to have a terrible rough draft, and even to change the entire concept of the novel halfway through. Don’t go back and fix the beginning to match until you’ve written an entire draft.
Let it rest before you edit
Once you have successfully completed a rough draft, you may be tempted to immediately dig out the red pen and get to work, but tired eyes can miss a lot. When you are done with your novel, it is truly best to start working on a different project (even if that project isn’t writing related) and do your best to forget about your novel as much as possible. Let it sit for at least a month while you fill your plate with other creative things. Start a new novel unrelated to the first, go work in your garden, paint pictures, whatever it takes. Do your best not to think about it during this time.
When you come back to it, you may be surprised to discover the passage you couldn’t stand earlier is now one of your favorite parts. That part you loved and were determined to never part with ever? Now you don’t know what you were thinking.
By waiting, you not only catch more typos and plot holes, but you save yourself from deleting your best work. Time is really the only way to catch these problems.
Being a new writer doesn’t have to stop you from writing a novel. Even the greatest masters of our time all had a beginning. There’s no reason why you can’t become the greatest writer the world has ever seen—but first, you need to start.
Whatever story is in your heart, I encourage you to open up a document, or even a good old-fashioned notebook, and start writing today.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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