After all my crazed ramblings about publishing and such, I thought I should go back to the beginning. How do you actually write a whole book?
It seems daunting and in some ways it is, but mostly all it takes is persistence, a little ink and paper and love/hate. But what are the actual steps you need to take to write a book, you ask? Worry no more, I’ll try to shed some light on the subject! I will not put these in any particular order because, realistically, you need to find what works for you.
Today I am going to talk about coming up with ideas. “Where do you come up with all these ideas, Adelise?” I am actually asked this all the time. And I am sorry to say that they just pop in there! Don’t get me wrong, I have used tools before, but nothing beats my imagination.
A huge part of “writing” includes sitting and just thinking. Quite often my husband will see me sitting there staring out a window and he will ask what I am doing. “Writing,” I always respond, even if there is not a pen in sight.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Do you ever just sit there and daydream? What do you day dream about? Write that! Yes, that! If you enjoy something so much that you sit there in a daze, ignoring life over it, then you would probably buy a book about it. And others probably would too.
If you are still stuck or you are just not a daydreamy type of person, try some music (movie score are really good) – something without lyrics so you don’t get tempted to sing along. I find that music can really help get those creative juice flowing.
Sometimes, if I am in a bit of a writing slump, getting some nice stationery can really help. I love writing long hand and there is not much that gets me more excited than a blank notebook. Go out and treat yourself. By a new notebook, some nice pens and/or pencils and just start writing words down. They don’t have to end up in the final draft. There are some really good online stores for stationery too. Typo is probably my favourite!
I know that may seem a little hippie of me, but I find meditation to be a great catalyst for idea generation and a nice way to snuff out doubt. If you haven’t tried any meditation before I would suggest guided meditation. Do it while no one is around. Just give it a go, it won’t hurt!
There are SO many websites and Facebook pages and Tumblr feeds and Instagram accounts out there for writing prompts. Like a few of them and check them out. Find a prompt that sparks something (or one that doesn’t) and have at it. There are also writer’s wheels, but I personally don’t want to get into them because I do not understand how they work! #shame
Yes. Reading. Reading other peoples work is often great for coming up with your own ideas. Plus, if you don’t know what is out there, what is being written and how it is being done, how can you expect
to be able to come up with your own masterpiece? Writing without reading is like a painting not seeing colour. You must read. Now, I am a very slow reader. I manage to read maybe twelve books a year, but at least something is still going in, something is still being fed into my imagination.
Ask questions about everything. Do like Stephen King Do. (lol sorry I had to write that. Go watch Zefrank on YouTube. So many laughs.)
Anyway … Yes, ask questions. “What if” questions, like: What if I had a pet helper monkey and one day I came home and he was baking a cake and chatting on the phone to my mother using my voice? (don’t ask yourself that question. There is no story there… or is there?) Or What if I woke up one morning and realised my consciousness had bee swapped with my dog’s? These sorts of question can lead to a story.
There are so many ways to come up with ideas, but when it boils down to it, you have to find a way that works for you. If you get totally stuck you can always just ask your friends what to write. or you can always take this great advice:
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison