Do you dream of becoming a published author but haven’t taken those first steps? Many successful authors have sat where you are right now. Maybe you’re unsure where to begin. Or you wonder if your writing is good enough. Those are all very normal feelings. If you have a story to tell, a character to introduce to the world, thoughts and ideas that are fighting to get out in print, then I say it’s time to begin the journey toward making your dreams come true.
If fear of not being a good enough writer is what’s stopping you, then just throw that thought away. I am confident you are a good enough writer. Now, that’s not saying there isn’t room for improvement. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. That’s just part of the process.
Your skills will continue to develop, you will define and refine your voice, and you will improve as a writer the more you write. Writing is a journey. It takes a lot of hard work to get where you want to go, a lot of discipline, and there will be many challenges along the way. There are also many great resources that can help, but for the moment, let’s focus on taking that first step.
So now that we’ve determined you are a good enough writer, and you’re willing to put in a lot of hard work, let’s talk about where to begin. There’s so much to learn, but if you take it one step at a time and stick with it, you’ll get there.
1. Open a blank document. This may sound obvious, but the best place to begin is by opening a blank document on your computer. That’s it! Step one… open that document.
As simple and obvious as it may seem, you would be surprised at how hard that is for some writers. The fact that you opened the document means you’re on your way.
2. Brainstorm. Start by getting your ideas down. They'll be random and disjointed at first, and that’s okay. You can organize it later.
By brainstorming in this way, you're capitalizing on the novelty factor of your idea. Novelty is defined as the quality or state of being new, different, and interesting. When an idea first hits you, it’s new and has grabbed your attention. You want to take advantage of this state of mind and write down as much about your idea as possible, before you lose the “passion” of the moment.
3. Set goals. Start by setting a timer for 15 minutes a day to begin. If this is too long, try 10 or even 5. If you can manage more than 15, that works, too. You can also try setting a word count goal of, say, 500 words per day.
I know for myself, finding the time to write has been a huge challenge. We all have busy lives and other responsibilities that make it difficult to focus on our writing. Just remember to start with small manageable steps and build from there.
4. Accountability & Support. You’re going to want to have some sort of accountability and support system in place. Whether it’s the daily word tracker in Scrivener (or another program), a writing group, a writing coach, or a writing buddy, being held accountable to a specific goal can significantly increase your productivity.
It's also helpful to be able to bounce ideas off of other people, have your work critiqued, and find guidance from others who have already been down the same path.
5. Write something every time you sit down to write. Lastly, a very important step is to write something every single time you sit down to work on your project. If the words of your story aren’t flowing, work on your outline, brainstorm, research, it doesn’t matter which aspect you work on as long as you’re making progress and taking steps toward the completion of your book.
Stick with it and you’ll begin seeing progress quickly. Some days will be better than others, and that’s okay. Keep the forward momentum going and you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling your dream of becoming a published author.
What's holding you back from fulfilling your dream of writing and publishing? Comment below.