Tag Archives: how to write

What You Can Learn From Dan Brown About Writing Your Book

What You Can Learn From Dan Brown About Writing Your Book

You’re writing a book, and of course you want to finish it.  Here’s what ensures that you’ll do that: write every day.

In The Wait of the World’s on Dan Brown – WSJ.com bestselling author Dan Brown is quoted on his working habits:

“… ‘For me, writing is a discipline, much like playing a musical instrument; it requires constant practice and honing of skills. For this reason, I write seven days a week. So, my routine begins at around 4:00 AM every morning, when there are no distractions.'”

Writing your book every day: tips to help

1. Schedule time to write, even if it’s only five minutes

If you can turn daily writing into a habit, you’ll not only have more fun with your writing, but you’ll also complete your book.

Avoid making heavy demands on yourself while you’re developing your writing habit. Schedule five minutes. Anyone can spend five minutes a day writing. Inevitably, sooner or later, your five minutes will become ten, then 20.

2. Change your writing tools, and/ or your location if you’re feeling stuck

Big tip: each and every book you write is a new journey. Some books will flow out of you — you’ll love your writing, because it’s so easy. Other books will be tortuous. You’ll struggle. I’ve no idea why that is, it just happens.

If you’re struggling, commit to your book. Tell yourself that no matter how crappy this book is, you’ll finish it. The voice which says “this is junk” in your head is just your inner editor, who is often wrong. Ignore your editor while you’re writing. Invite him back later.

You will struggle. It’s normal. On the days when you don’t feel like writing, or hate your characters, or think your plot is pure drivel, change your writing tools. Handwrite your daily stint. Or write on your phone.

Change your location, too. On days I truly don’t want to write, I take myself into the city, and write in a coffee shop, or in an art gallery’s restaurant. The words always flow.

3. Tell yourself you’re a writer, and writers write

Don’t want to write? Write anyway. Moods come and go, and moods are treacherous. Here’s how to outwit a “don’t wanna” mood. Make writing the first thing you do every day — this helps many writers. I get up around five each morning, and write for a couple of hours. When you get up early, your inner editor is still asleep.

The night before, put your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so that you need to get out of bed to turn it off. Tell yourself that as soon as you hear the alarm, you’ll get out of bed, without fail. Amazingly enough, you’ll do it. 🙂

4. Before you go to bed, read the last chapter you wrote, and outline the next scene (fiction) or chapter (nonfiction)

Your aim when you sit down to write is to WRITE. If you don’t know what comes next, you’ll spend a lot of time thinking, and before you know it, you’ll decide that what you’re writing is junk, you’re approaching the book from the wrong direction, your character is a moron… yadda, yadda…

Avoid this by outlining the next day’s writing the night before. Tip: by “outline” I mean write a few sentences, that’s all. No need for a “real” outline. (Forget about “real” outlines, if you haven’t done so already. :-))

Happy writing… 🙂 Write every day, and you WILL finish your book.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

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Updated: April 20, 2019

Writing A Novel: NaNoWrimo And You

Writing A Novel: NaNoWrimo And You

You’re writing a novel, but you decided to skip NaNoWrimo this year. Or you started NaNoWrimo with huge enthusiasm, and stopped. Please don’t feel guilty. If you’re new to writing fiction, it’s almost certainly better for you to practice on short stories, rather than trying to complete even a short novel in a month.

Over the past week, I’ve received messages from writers who feel like failures. A couple wanted to do NaNoWrimo, but something came up. Several other writers started NaNoWrimo, and wrote steadily, but then stopped “just for today”. They didn’t start writing again.

Please don’t feel guilty. You’re not a failure as a novelist or anything else if you didn’t start NaNoWrimo, or if you started and quit. If you started, be glad of the experience, and cheer up. All the writing you do teaches you, and you’ve learned a lot, even if you think you’ve “failed.”

NaNoWrimo is a challenge for new novelists, because…

1. Novels are hard to control, even if you’re written one or more novels

Novels are very hard to control. Even if you’re someone who loves outlining, a novel takes off in directions you didn’t expect. Alternatively, if it doesn’t take off, and you hew closely to your outline, your characters never come alive. You begin to resent them, and stop caring about them.

Once you’ve gained a little experience, you’ll be thrilled when a novel takes off in unexpected ways, and you’ll know how to get it back on track. It’s almost impossible to do that without a few novels under your belt, however.

2. If you don’t write have a writing habit, writing 1,700 words a day is too much pressure

Here’s my goal for fiction every day: a thousand words. That’s all. Of course, I hope to write 3,000 words a day, or more, if I can. If I can’t, then 1,000 words is fine.

I’ve been writing for many more years than I care to think about, and I still keep my daily fiction word count goal low. Here’s why — pressure.

Fiction’s easy, as long as you can get yourself into a fictive dream while you’re writing. You can’t get yourself into this mind state when you’re feeling pressured, it’s impossible.

Setting yourself a word count goal of 1,700 words a day for NaNoWrimo is huge pressure.

Relax, give yourself time to build your writing muscles

Writing 50,000 words is hard. Turning those 50K words into a novel is even harder. If you’ve yet to complete your first novel, give yourself time. You have plenty of time, all the time in the world.

Here are two ways to prepare yourself to write your first novel.

1. Write ten short stories — take as long as you like

Yes, ten short stories. Take as long as you like to write those ten short stories. Writing short stories has one huge benefit: you get into the habit of completing your stories.

Some writers get into the habit of starting novels, and never completing them. Writing short stories is a great way to get into the habit of finishing what you start.

Every story hits a wall at some stage. When you have a little experience, you expect this. In fact, you realize that hitting the wall is a good thing. You’ve just got to find a way under, over, or through the wall. When you do this, you’ll complete your story.

2. Write for five minutes a day for a month

Writing fiction is very different from writing nonfiction. You need to pretend to be someone else, and write as someone else. You experience what your story person experiences, and you write about it.

Rather than scaring yourself to death by saying: “I’m writing a novel!” sneak up on it. Write fiction for five minutes a day, for 30 days. You don’t have to write more than a few sentences. Anything you get onto the computer screen is fine. You’re teaching yourself a new mindset.

Initially, you’ll feel uncomfortable. Soon, you’ll realize that imagining is fun. Then you’ll be well on your way.

You may even write a wonderful novel for NaNoWrimo next year.

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

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Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

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Writing Process: Words, Words, And More Words

Writing Process: Words, Words, And More Words

I know that consistent production is hard for many writers. So let’s look at a writing process which ensures that you produce more words. This process works for both fiction and nonfiction.

Key: KNOW that you can do it. If you can talk, you can write. I write around 1000 to 1500 words an hour.

If I’m writing fiction, most of that is fairly good, for first draft material. But it’s nevertheless first draft material. It needs editing. If you can only manage 200 words an hour, that’s more than fine. You’ll get faster as you go.

Here’s your basic writing process:

  • Idea generation (know what you’re writing)
  • First draft writing
  • Editing

1. Know what you’re writing when you sit down to write

Never, ever sit down at your computer to write, without knowing what you’re writing, and exactly how much you expect yourself to produce.

Consider your creative self to be the genie in the bottle, if it helps. You need to give your genie orders.

For example, yesterday I needed to do the final edits on a novella. I wanted to publish it yesterday, and I did. I had notes on what I had to cover in the final edit, and I just followed the notes.

This morning I did just 1000 words on a new fiction trilogy. I’d done zero planning, so a lot of my fiction writing time was fiddling around, creating characters. I knew before I started that my goal for that project today was a thousand words, so I wrote them.

To repeat: give yourself instructions. Know what you’re writing before you sit down to write.

2. Get uncomfortable: try Write or Die (your word count per hour will go up)

Every month or two, I use timed writing sessions to force myself to write more words per hour. This is challenging. But it works. You can get too comfortable.

Get uncomfortable. I’ve started using Write or Die 2, because I heard good reports on it, and it keeps stats. Write or Die has two sliders, one for the minutes in your writing session, and the other slider is a word count goal for those minutes.

You don’t need an app. Use a kitchen timer, and set it for a time — half an hour, if you like. Then decide how many words you’ll write.

Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone works. Your productivity will increase.

2. Focus on scenes: write the dialogue first

When you’re writing fiction, focus on scenes.

Here’s how to write scenes:

  • Decide on the goal you want for a scene. What changes? What emotion do you want?
  • Write the scene’s first line;
  • Write the scene’s last line;
  • Write the dialogue between the first and last line;
  • Go back and fill in the extras: emotions, characters’ thoughts, movements, and so on.

The above process works for me, because once you’ve got the dialogue, everything follows from that. I tend to worry too much about characters’ emotions and thoughts. I put in too much, and slow myself — and the scene — down.

Focus on your scenes, and write the dialogue first: try it. You’ll write more, and more easily.

Have fun. 🙂

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