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Writing That Book

Where does the idea come from?

The idea to create a written work that is all your own. To put in the hours. To go through the rollercoaster, to ride the waves of that. To then see its completion. To see it, right there in front of you, tangible in your hands, your own name staring back at you in bright, impressionable, beautiful letters.

Your book.

Your story.

The published piece that poured straight from hours behind your laptop and also, your heart-space.

Your book.

Where does the idea to start this project come from? you might ask. I’ve had many people ask me this. I’ve asked myself this more times than I can count. I’m not sure where the idea originates but I do know it’s something that stays with you, no matter what you do. It’s always there until you choose to act on it.

So if the idea of sharing your story in the form of a written book has been with you for a while, hanging on at the edges of everything else you do, it’s probably the time. It’s definitely the time. It’s your moment to start.

Oh, my gosh. Overwhelming, right? Where do you even begin with starting?! I have one hundred percent been there. Which is why I’ve created steps for you to start that first draft of your book and turn it into something people are eager to read.

Begin by sitting with your idea

Sit with it, go for a brisk walk with it, let it gain traction in your thoughts and develop in your mind. Dedicate time in your day for just thinking about it.

Ask yourself big and small questions. What is your genre? It is a memoir, a novel, a self-help book? Who are your characters? Who is the voice speaking in the pages? If it’s you, how do you want to sound? If it’s a few engaging characters, how do you want them to sound?

Many aspiring authors, my past self included, have made the mistake of beginning by opening a new document and staring at that white blank teasing page. It’s frustrating when the words just won’t flow out in the way you wish they would.

That’s because writing, in any form and especially when diving into something as ambitious as a novel, takes a heck of a lot of planning before the actual writing even begins. Sit with your notebook and dream up your plot, your main message and your own genuine feelings about what you are creating.

Next create your storyboard

I plan mine out on large pieces of coloured paper and it becomes a collage of notes and pictures because the visuals work well to pull me right into the story. You can create yours in a format that speaks to you and your own creativity.

Then, plan out your chapters

What will you talk about first? What will follow that? Then what after that? Of course this can shift as you write, but having a plan in place will keep your ideas organized and precise.

When everything feels planned, thought-through and bursting with excitement and inspiration, you can then dedicate a good batch of time to writing.

Fun, fluid, in the zone writing! You’ll know it when you feel it. It’s the kind of writing that sweeps you off your feet, erases all sense of time and transports you into a space so enticing it’s hard to leave it. Of course, not all writing feels this way. Sometimes it feels repetitive. The trick to finishing the first draft is to just stick with it, the exciting and also the long long hours. If you stay accountable here, slowly, piece by piece, chapter by chapter, your book will come alive and become an accomplishment that will stay close to you always. All your hard work and persistence will evolve into a book that will go on to inspire so many others.

And when you start to question it, remember two things:

  1.  It is worth it
  2. You can absolutely do it.

For more guidance on starting, enjoying and finishing that first draft, feel free to reach out or follow me @christyhowitt.

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by christyhowitt

Hey, I'm Christy! I live for story-telling, creative writing and the art that comes from piecing words together in a way that reaches people. I recently published Heartsand, my first young adult fiction novel and am currently working on the sequel to that coming-of-age summertime story. I have experience in freelance writing as well as communications/public relations work.

My novel, Heartsand is now available. Sunwild, the sequel, available this July.


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