What are you writing about and what action are you going to take? These are the third blog in my series about the steps you need to take in order to write a book.
Okay, so first, what are you writing about? Last month I talked a bit about who your ideal audience is and what your intention is.
I do want to say if you're still in the idea stage, don't put any rules on yourself. At this stage, the sky is the limit. Just start writing. Just start writing down a whole list of ideas that you want to talk about, things that pop in your head that interests you, maybe on your way to work. Here’s an example:
You think about a purple dragon and you can't stop thinking about this purple dragon and how she's so misunderstood because she's really friendly, but because she's a dragon and dragons have a really bad reputation.
If you’re writing fiction, say about our purple dragon character, start writing down more things about her, what your thoughts are about what she might look like, what she might act like, who were friends might be, etc. If you decide halfway through that you have another great idea, that’s OK!
If your brain is in rockstar, cooking with grease, on-fire mode, AWESOME! Write these ideas down. I like to call these sunny day ideas. Why? Because like a solar panel that sucks up a lot of sun when it's sunny outside, you can collect tons of amazing ideas on a “sunny day” idea day when your brain is on fire. Later when you aren't sure what you want to write about, look back at your “sunny day” ideas.
Then go back and take a look at all the ideas you've written. Take a look and read each idea to yourself. Now see which ones resonate with you. When I say resonate with you, I mean which ideas, when you read them make you go, “Wow, that's really cool!”
It's kind of like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. When you think about each idea, does it “spark joy”? If it does, excellent, you've got a good start. If it doesn't, that's okay. Maybe you're just not feeling it today. You can always put that idea aside and work on it later.
Once you have your ideas written down, you can start to identify which ones are the ones that “spark joy”, and then from there you can start honing in on a specific idea to create your story.
Now I want to talk a little bit about what you're writing about. First one might be, what is your genre?
-Are you writing fiction or nonfiction?
-Are you writing about something that you know or are you like a nonfiction book, or are you writing about a fantasy world or a fiction world that you're inventing?
-Are you writing from a first-person point of view? Or would your story be stronger if it were written in third-person?
There's so many different ways to craft your story. Once you know what your intention is, and once you know who your ideal audience is, there's so many different ways to go with how you want to write. You may already know right off the bat. Some writers will just start jotting down notes and writing things.
You might start writing short stories, you might start with writing essays, or you might start with poetry. Once you know what you're planning to write, you can kind of organize your thoughts around that.
At this point, I want to take a look at you as the creator and your creative process. We all have different writing styles just as there are so many different books in the world. What I want to do is before you jump into hard look at what kind of writing writer or what kind of writing process works the best for you.
Are you an analyzer? Do you like to make detailed plans? Do you like to have all your metaphorical ducks in a row before you get started? You are a fantastic planner who gets everything ready and are prepared before you write. That’s awesome! You are an Analyzer Writer.
Are you more of a wing it kind of person? Do you get an idea and you just decide, hey, I'm going to start writing and see where this goes? Do you like to start writing a book and you don't know exactly how it's going to end? Then you are an Action Writer.
To clarify, when I say “action writer,” I'm talking about the style of your writing, not necessarily that you're writing action stories.
Once you know more about your own style, you can plan accordingly. In other words, if you're an Analyzer Writer, you'll definitely want to plan accordingly. Give yourself time and space to draft your outline. You want to carefully craft your story. Make it easier on yourself by giving yourself the freedom to outline to your heart’s content.
If you're an Action Writer, what you want to do is be prepared for when the muse strikes. What do I mean by this? Have pieces of paper or notebooks available and right here, utensils at all times because you're an action person and the mood hits when it hits. You want to be prepared by having a book and a writing utensil ready.
If you're an Analyzer Writewr, however you know that you will want to carve out specific blocks of time in order to make your writing happen, you likely have identified about when you want to complete your book or you might start getting that idea. Once you do more planning, an Analyzer Writer is more likely to have an outline, whereas an Action Writer may just fly by the seat of their pants.
I'm not saying that people can't be a combination of both action and analyzer. What I am saying is know yourself and know what works best for you. This will come in handy once you know what you're writing about and as we said before, what your intention and your ideal audience are.
Once you know these and you can start identifying it, you can start making a plan for writing your book.
Let's say you want to write a book in six months. Start by knowing yourself, meaning know whether you're an analyzer or an action person.
Then identify your own writing style.
If you know it takes you a long time to write, plan accordingly.
Maybe six months isn't enough time. Can you change your timeline?
If you know you have to be ready within six months, however, plan accordingly.
You can write down how many chapters do you want to have completed by a certain amount of time.
Note that even Action Writers who aren't wild about outlines can definitely benefit from this sort of thinking because sometimes our brain likes to know the parameters in which it can play.
Whatever style of writer you are, do take action! This book isn’t going to write itself! If you need accountability or inspiration, consider hiring a writing coach.
All right, hope this is helpful and I look forward to sharing more with you next month.