I developed an attachment to writing from a very young age and always had this dream of completing an entire novel. It was ultimately my love for reading that pushed me in the direction of becoming a writer. I would compete to receive those awards for reading one-hundred books in the school year in elementary school, and I realized that each book left its mark on me. Throughout my life, I’ve used books as my therapy. Some may call it avoiding my issues, but I like to say that I’m taking a little break from reality (Hence, Read From Reality). I’ve realized that so many authors like J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, Cassandra Clare, even Dr. Seuss, have molded me into who I am today. I almost think of the authors like friends, helping me through my emotions with their writing. My biggest dream is to give at least one person in this world something akin to what authors have given me, which is something to lean on. I’m becoming a teacher for this reason, and I also realized that I want to write to maybe give someone out there like me the same kind of chance to escape reality for even just a little while. I used to write on my huge desktop computer as a kid, and either never finished the story or lost it due to a computer crash (darn technology). The past few years I have come up with a million different ideas, but could never get the ball rolling with them for one reason or another. I looked for advice on how to begin writing, and I’m going to share with you some of the things that have helped me.
- Be comfortable.
This is the most important step, which is why it’s #1. This applies to a couple of different things: find a comfortable setting to write in, and be comfortable with what you’re writing about. I usually write laying in bed, or at a bookstore/library where I feel no pressure from outside sources. I like to be clear-headed while writing so that I can focus on the events of the book and not the events of my personal life. If you feel strained in any way, take a breather and stretch a little. I heard meditation works wonders (I should probably make that a hobby of mine). Now in addition to being comfortable physically, you must be comfortable mentally. You have to know what you can write about. I find fantasy and romance to be fascinating, so that’s what I roll with. I still do my research and give myself the best shot at creating something worth reading. I know that a lot of people with tell you that you have to cater to your audience, and while that is somewhat true, you must know yourself and your limits. Otherwise your writing will take a beating.
2. Plan, plan, plan.
Want to know a little secret about me? I’m a huge daydreamer. I could be in the middle of the most important conversation of my life and my mind will wander into imagination-land where unicorns fly around everywhere and chocolate rains from the sky…
Okay, that was an over-exaggeration. I do have a wild imagination, though. All of my ideas for stories come at the most random points in the day, like in the middle of a test, perhaps. I have to jot them down as soon as possible before I forget or another one pushes its way into my brain. Have you ever seen the cartoon Jimmy Neutron? I have brain-blasts just like him. While this is a convenient ability, I still need to plan out my approach to the ideas that float around in my head. When I have one of these “brain-blasts” it usually begins with one scene. A lot of times this scene is the climax of a story. From there, I build until I’ve got a few characters to work on, and a plot for the rest of the story. My advice is to outline everything. Any idea that you have, outline it. Be meticulous and your readers will thank you for it. A lot of times while writing I get a new idea and change course with the story. That sounds disastrous, but with outlining it comes together quite well. This way, even if you have a million different ideas, you can see where each one leads to and what works best for your story.
3. Don’t give yourself an exact deadline (or don’t set unrealistic goals).
Okay, this last point sounds totally batsh*t crazy, I know. I might be a little biased with this one, but in my experience, setting an exact deadline only increases stress on you and your story. It slightly contradicts my last point about planning, but hear me out. (Also, this isn’t as helpful for writers planning on using a publisher rather than self-publish, as I plan on doing.) For my own writing, I am very general when it comes to setting a timeline for myself. I say that my story will be done in 2017. This gives me time, but also doesn’t say when in 2017. I have room to spread myself out. If I said that my story would be finished, let’s say, in January 2017, I would be freaking 0ut about how much I should be writing a week and how I would be able to juggle writing and adult responsibilities at the same time. I can’t write knowing that I have to complete it by an exact time (again this point is biased, but I did say earlier I’d tell you what worked best for me 😉 ) My story would suffer because, let’s face it, I wouldn’t be giving it the time it needs by setting unrealistic goals. Speaking of setting unrealistic goals, don’t allow yourself to have high expectations for releasing your first stories. It takes a lot of work to build an audience, and that audience can be tough on you. There will always be someone that will negatively criticize you, just take it in stride and look at those that are sending you positive vibes. Show your readers that you care, especially when it comes to your work and their loyalty to you as an author.
Alright, that’s it for tonight! I hope that by reading this I’ve helped you in some way with beginners’ jitters. By any means, if you have any tips in return for me, I’d love to hear them!