Getting Started: The Writing Roadmap

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So you want to write a book? Well, as with most things in life the hardest part is to start, and the question is; where to begin?

 

1. Visualize.

 Before even writing you need to think about a story you want to tell or a character you want to bring to life. You need to visualize both and manifest it in your mind. Spend a good amount of time doing this. This is the fun part where there are no rules, boundaries or regulations. Anything is possible and anything you imagine has the potential to grow and evolve into something great. This is where the seed is planted.

 

2. Manifest your thoughts.

 After thinking about your story and character the next step to do is to now get all those thoughts down on paper. Write it all down. There is really no right or wrong way of doing this but what worked for me was first write out what the plot is in 1 paragraph, next divide the story up into three parts, beginning, middle and end and write a paragraph about each part. From there you can now begin to break the story down into chapters and start outlining the entire book, chapter by chapter. These could be 1-3 sentences, brief descriptions. As for the character/characters don’t put too much thought into who they are at this stage, because they will evolve and change during the writing of the story.

 

3. Building a frame.

 The first two stages will act more like blueprints at this point. They will be your guide as you dive into actually writing the story. What worked for me and what I recommend is to just dive into the story, just start writing without worrying about structure, fancy words, spelling, grammatical errors, or how good or bad it is. Just write because when you finish your first draft by the time you get it published the story will have changed completely. Your job at this stage is to just beat out the entire manuscript. How long this takes is up to you and your life, work, writing balance. Usually a 300 page book could be written in what is the equivalent of a season, 3-4 months.

 

4. Balance.

 The key to successfully writing a book is all about balance, how do you balance your life, work, and writing. If you are serious about writing a book you will have to find and make time to write each day. There are 24 hours in a day so there should be no excuses why you can’t devote at least 1 hour a day writing. Even if you are only able to write one paragraph or one sentence, it is progress and each day it will grow. Set a writing schedule and stick with it.

 

5. Reflect.

 Congratulations, at this point you should have completed your first draft. The next thing to do, is to let your manuscript sit untouched for some time. This could be for 1-2 weeks, a month, or even what I have done before 1 year. Why? It’s a healthy habit to master because as it sits, you can relive the story, think about it, the changes you want to make and it helps clear your mind of all the clutter, so that when you revisit it you’ll see it from a different perspective. How long you sit on it is up to you, but as you leave it alone, you should have someone read it to give you feedback, take notes on things you like, don’t like, want to change, take out, add in, and last what I do is take this time to start thinking about and outlining another story I would like to write.  

 

6. Repeat.

 After letting it sit, having someone read it and critique it, and taking notes on all you would like to change, you can now go back, revisit the story and begin doing edits, rewrites and molding the story into something better. I recommend doing this 3 times before sending it off to a professional editor. You want the story to be solidified and most of the grammar to be on par with a final draft.

 

The final published book being held in your hands should be the big picture you see at the very beginning, this should be your motivation to just start writing. It’s that simple. So don’t be afraid to, you never know what it is you may end up creating and how many lives you could change, entertain and inspire with your words. It all starts with one word so start with just one word, start writing.