Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tools Needed to Write a Book

Is it Doable to Write a Book?
We all have dreams (I hope. If not, get to work!). Mine was to write a book. As I wrote, I noticed something rather cool happening to me. Call it confidence or self-assurance, not sure. But my dream kept growing and growing into this wild adventure. Soon I wanted to be published. Then I decided I wanted to write full time as a career. Then I wanted my book to end up on the New York Times Best Seller List...oh, and I wanted to appear on Oprah, of course. Before you roll your eyes, this is what makes dreaming fun. We're allowed to let our minds take us places we've never been because we're kind of accustomed to taking life a little too seriously. Along this adventure I discovered dreaming is what living is about. 

My Focus Wheel. My mom made me design this last year. There are no boundaries. Nothing too stupid or ridiculous sounding (ha!). Keeps me writing (and dreaming)!

1. Set a Goal
Most of you know my story. I took a college course back in the day (UW-Whitewater) and the teacher asked us to write out our dreams and goals. One of mine was to become a writer. I had to put my dreams in a cardboard box, with a candle, noise maker and balloon and uncover the box years later to see if I met the dream. When I found the box several years later, I realized none of my dreams came true and the time had expired. Sad. From that day on, I was determined to make them happen. But life is so busy. There are a million distractions. When my family and I were sitting around a table in South Africa on New Year's Eve, I asked everyone what their goals/resolutions were for the year. When it came to my turn, I smiled and said, "This is the year I'll write my book." It sounded a bit silly coming out, but nobody laughed. And I realized the cat was out of the bag. The scary part? If I didn't do it, they would know. I might look weak. The great part? They could hold me accountable. Ask yourself what is it you want? What will make you happy?

My family in Cape Town, South Africa...moments before we discussed our New Year's Resolutions!

2. Take a Writing Class
When we returned from South Africa, it took awhile to get my focus back (hello...trip of a lifetime). I started to let life take over (again), until our community activity booklet came in the mail and I saw a writer was teaching a four-week writing class. I could handle that! It was all I needed to get started. Though she wasn't a published author (yet), she'd been in the business for several years and knew the ins and outs. She gave us plenty of advice and material to help us along. Plus, I met some great people who live in my community - one who gladly (or so I think) critiques my stuff and I get a man's perspective!

3. Make Time to Write
It's kind of like when you want to lose 15 pounds but in order to get there you have to workout and eat healthy. You know what you need to do to make it happen; yet, you let excuses take over. No more. You need to make writing a priority. Yes, I have a full-time job (8-5), not to mention three/four freelance jobs, volleyball, working out with a trainer, a husband, a house that needs cleaning, etc. But like with everything in life, we learn how to balance and fit everything in. I think back to when I was 12, reading The Babysitters Club books. I woke up, did a few chores, maybe watched some cartoons...sat in my room and read. Ahh, the life. But back then - to me - my life was crazy. Newsflash: every year gets busier and crazier and more insane than the last. You will manage. At least this is what I tell myself. So the minute 5:00 p.m. hit (okay...4:30) I was out the door and on my way to Panera where I'd write until volleyball started. Sometimes I woke up at 4 a.m. (does once count?). Sometimes I spent 10-12 hours on a Saturday AND then again on Sunday writing, editing, rewriting. Yes, I think I need glasses now. Yes, I had a lot of headaches. Yes, I had to miss out on fun nights out with friends and all the other cool stuff going on. But I want this. More than anything. Ask yourself how badly you want it.

4. Join a Critique Group
Gabi, my awesome Brazilian friend who heads up our critique group, and I were discussing this week how our group started. I guess I responded to a post on her blog. And before I knew it, our group was formed. Without them, my manuscript would be a chaotic mess written in passive voice with way too much back story and adverbs. I don't know how I will ever thank them, but we have something special going on! They've been most helpful and not only offer writing support but have become some phenomenal therapists too:)

5. Write Your Story's Synopsis First
The synopsis will more than likely change as you write. However, the last thing you want is to get to Chapter 15 (or any chapter) and get stuck because you're not sure the direction of your story anymore. Or how it's going to end. You get lost. And this is when giving up feels like the only option. I had three or four different synopsis. Thankfully a friend came across my post on Facebook about writing a book and asked to read my synopsis. And thankfully for me, he's a Hollywood screenwriter. He knows how these things work. We went back and forth many times and every time my story grew stronger. It made more sense to me. So thanks to him, I had my synopsis polished before I started writing...even if it was 10-pages single spaced. I can't say I ever got super stuck because I always had the synopsis staring at me in the face, guiding me through. 

6. Write What You Know!
Trust me, it shows and it's so much easier to write when you're passionate about the storyline and your characters. It makes for a great story when your heart is in it. Readers are smart people. They will know.

7. Do NOT Give Up!
If this is what you really want and really love doing, keep going! Our world is full of negativity. You can't let what you read or hear get you down. Everyone has a story to share, but make this adventure YOUR story. Choose how YOU want it to end. I understand how easy it is to throw in the towel. This is probably why only some 10% of people who claim they are "writing a book" have actually finished a manuscript. FINISH it. Your life will change once you write 'THE END'. You will grow a little inside too.

8. Start a Blog
Blogs are loaded with information for writers. There are contests, new agents looking for new writers, writers who are in the same boat as you, writers who have finally gotten published, agents with secrets to share, and so much more. Also, it's fun to track your own journey and to go back and see the mountains you've faced head on and climbed. Some you never thought possible.

9. Keep Adding to Your Goal List and Keep Dreaming!
So my goal was to write a book. I did it. Am I done? Not even close. Like I wrote above, as I started one dream, another one came to me. And another. The amazing part is what happens when we let ourselves dream. And how we grow as people. So get a pen and paper...or start your blog and start jotting down what it is you feel in your heart. Things you want to do with your life. And go after them!

What's your writing journey been like?


  1. I love the idea for a focus wheel. It's pretty easy to get distracted or focus on one thing too much and neglect the others. I'm going to try to put one of my own together this week.

  2. Genuinely when someone doesn't know after that its up to other users that they will help, so here it takes place.
    Look at my weblog Private krankenversicherung Preis

  3. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just
    your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
    Nevertheless imagine if you added some great images or video clips to give your posts more, "pop"!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and videos,
    this website could definitely be one of the greatest in its field.
    Good blog!
    My page :: Loan consolidating

  4. Great delivery. Sound arguments. Keep up the great spirit.
    My blog post : designermöbel outlet online

  5. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have
    really enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. In any case
    I'll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!
    Here is my site - private krankenversicherung wann

  6. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a
    very well written article. I'll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I'll definitely return.
    Also visit my page : bad credit manufactured home loan

  7. Appreciation to my father who told me concerning this website,
    this weblog is genuinely awesome.
    Also visit my homepage - wie bekomme ich ein kredit Trotz schufa

  8. You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful websites on the web.
    I most certainly will recommend this website!
    Here is my web blog - hawaii island vacations

  9. Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There's a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks
    My site Handyverträge Trotz schufa

  10. I will immediately take hold of your rss feed as I can't to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me recognize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    Also visit my blog post: virtual server hosting
    my site: hosting in uk

  11. There's definately a lot to learn about this subject. I like all of the points you have made.

    Feel free to visit my web site seo expert salary
    Also see my site :: search engine optimization brisbane

  12. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for was kostet eine private krankenversicherung

    Here is my site :: private krankenkasse für studenten

  13. I am curious to find out what blog system
    you're utilizing? I'm having some minor security problems with my
    latest site and I would like to find something more safeguarded.
    Do you have any solutions?

    Here is my page getting a mortgage with bad credit

  14. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.

    I'll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

    My web page :: start my own business ideas

  15. Hello, this weekend is good for me, because
    this occasion i am reading this fantastic informative piece of writing here at my house.

    Stop by my page; pay for performance seo

  16. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was totally right.
    This post truly made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info!

    Feel free to surf to my web page :: sofortkredit Mit schufa
    Also see my website: kredit trotz arbeitslosigkeit

  17. Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article post.
    I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

    Here is my website - green entrepreneur ideas
    Also see my web site > ideas for business

  18. Admiring the hard work you put into your website and in depth
    information you present. It's great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't
    the same old rehashed information. Excellent read!

    I've bookmarked your site and I'm including your RSS feeds to my
    Google account.

    my web blog leistung privat krankenversicherung

  19. That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

    My web page: free php Web hosting
    Also see my site :: best vps hosting review

  20. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    Here is my web-site - own your own business

  21. I blog quite often and I really appreciate your information.

    Your article has truly peaked my interest. I will book mark your blog
    and keep checking for new information about once a week.
    I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

    my web blog ... Affordable seo company

  22. I like the helpful information you supply for your articles.
    I'll bookmark your blog and take a look at again right here regularly. I'm relatively certain I'll be informed plenty of new stuff right right here! Best of luck for the next!

    Here is my web page ... vergleich private krankenversicherung

  23. Hi mates, how is everything, and what you desire to say regarding this paragraph, in my view its genuinely
    amazing for me.

    Feel free to surf to my site ... private krankenversicherungen vergleichen

  24. Quality content is the secret to invite the users to pay a
    visit the web site, that's what this website is providing.

    Also visit my weblog - how to buy a home with bad credit

  25. Hi there to every one, the contents existing at
    this web site are truly awesome for people experience, well, keep up the
    nice work fellows.

    Here is my web blog :: family vacation

  26. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It
    really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

    Here is my web page: best web hosting reseller

  27. Hello Dear, are you actually visiting this web page daily, if so then you will without
    doubt take pleasant experience.

    Also visit my weblog :: erstattung private krankenversicherung
    My page: krankenversicherung für ausländer

  28. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page
    layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for
    only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it
    out better?

    My webpage: direct student loans consolidation

  29. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page
    layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got
    to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could
    connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    My website :: direct student loans consolidation
    My web site :: consolidating student Loans 2012

  30. Hi, Neat post. There is an issue with your website in internet explorer, would test this?

    IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a
    large component of other people will leave out your magnificent writing
    because of this problem.

    My web-site: Discover more here

  31. Nice weblog right here! Additionally your site a lot
    up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting
    your associate link on your host? I want my site loaded up
    as fast as yours lol

    Also visit my homepage; how make money on the internet

  32. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

    Feel free to visit my web blog :: default Private student loan Help

  33. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My blog has a lot of exclusive content I've either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any solutions to help protect against content from being stolen? I'd certainly appreciate it.

    Here is my web-site -
    my website :: Usuario:DarnellS67 - Wikivia