Last week I chatted with a new author who told me that she’d always wanted to write a novel. “It’s been my dream for 20 years,” she said. “I always thought I’d write, but something’s holding me back. I don’t know what it is… my children have left home, so I can’t tell myself that I don’t have time any more.”
Desperation’s the key for many authors. They want to write, and don’t write. Then something tips them over the edge. One fine day they decide that they’ll start writing now. And they do.
Let’s make today the day YOU start.
You CAN write a novel, even without an idea in your head
Oddly enough, “ideas” are a challenge for many authors. They either have too many ideas, and can’t pick one, or they “can’t think of an idea.”
My new author friend was in the latter group. “I can’t come up with a great idea,” she told me. “Every idea I come up with is stupid.”
Ideas are over-rated. It’s easy to come up with ideas. You can do it — challenge yourself to come up with ten ideas in ten minutes. You’ll do it, even if you loudly proclaim that you can’t think of an idea.
Here’s the thing. A novel requires more than an idea. It needs thousands of ideas. Start writing, and you’ll come up with dozens of ideas in a single session.
These three tips will help you to get started.
1. Write 100 words about someone’s secret
Fiction is people, and people are endlessly fascinating.
Do you have a secret? We all have a secret we’d hate to see splattered all over the Internet, or on the front page of a newspaper.
You can write 100 words about any secret: your secret, your mother’s secret, a friend’s secret… or an imaginary character’s secret.
Sit down at your computer now, and start writing.
STOP when you’ve written 100 words.
Why stop? Because you’re training yourself to write on demand. Writers write, just like bakers bake and doctors see their patients. It’s no big deal — your aim is to demystify the act of writing. So stop when you’ve written your 100 words. 🙂
2. Write 200 words about your favorite movie or book character
Write whatever comes to mind about your favorite.
Don’t judge your words — when a word pops into your head, write it down. That’s what writers do — they think on the computer screen. Then they knock their thoughts (words) into shape — again, on the computer screen.
(Or on paper — whatever floats your boat.)
Want more exercises? Here you go. You’ll find 70 writing exercises in my ebook, Top 70 Writing Tips: Write More, Improve Your Writing, And Make More Money. You can do many of the exercises over and over again.
You may be shocked that I occasionally do the exercises too. Writing exercises are an excellent way to kickstart your creativity whenever you feel stale, or “not in the mood” to write.
3. Write for ten minutes a day, every day
This tip is the biggie.
Schedule ten minutes of writing on your novel, every day. Write whatever comes. Write character descriptions, character names, a scene… Write. For ten minutes. Then stop.
Sooner or later, your confidence will be such that you won’t need to force yourself to your computer. You’ll leap out of bed in the morning, and will be impatient to write.
Write a novel: write every day… Don’t worry about writing when you’re not writing
Sadly, there’s nothing glamorous about the writing life. Writers sit down and write, every day. Or every week day.
When they’re not writing, they live their life.
To start to write a novel, and finish it, do the exercises.
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