Monday, February 24, 2014

The Process - Or how to write a book in 20 years

I've always liked to write.  I think I started my first story in the first grade.  I've always had a dream to write a book.  Over the years, I started writing plenty.  Choose your own adventure books were a favorite of mine back in the day, but I never finished one.  I was good at starting them, but completing them was another story.  Perhaps you can relate.

I'm not sure why I didn't write, but I never did.  Perhaps I was afraid of the rejection from a publisher, perhaps I couldn't think of a good story.  All these things and more are certainly likely reasons.  But in 2013, I decided that it was time.  My wife had read the 50 Shades of Grey books and after that was reading a ton of books with a similar storyline.  I read the books as well to see what the fuss was about.

It gave me an idea for my own book.  I didn't want to write about a billionaire into bdsm.  Take a look on Amazon, there are TONS of books on that subject.  I actually decided to co-write a book with my wife.  At first, it went well, but then our ideas diverged and we decided that we'd have a friendly competition instead.  She has her book, which she's well into and I created my own.

It took me roughly three months to complete the first draft.  I can't describe the feeling of accomplishment I had when it was finally done.  Over 89,000 words.  I never thought I'd be able to finish, but I did. 

You will probably feel the same way.  There are times when I got stuck, when I didn't know what to write, but I got through them.  The best piece of advice you will ever get about writing is that you need to write.  It doesn't matter if it sucks, that can be fixed later.  What matters is you continue to write.  I've heard authors talk about writing as if it's a muscle.  The more you work it out, the stronger you become.  I truly believe that.  The more I wrote, the easier it became.  It would take me a week and a half or so to write the first chapters.  By the end, I was writing nearly two chapters a week.

Set yourself some goals and try to stick to them.  I have a goal of writing at least 1,000 words per day.  At that rate, I should be able to complete a chapter in roughly 5 days.  Some days, I can only write a few words, maybe a sentence or two.  Some days, I write 2,000 or more words.  But the key thing is that I write something.  Even if everything I write is replaced in a second draft, it's something.

In my next post, I'll bring up my process for starting a story.  I hope you'll find it useful, or it will at least give you pause to think.

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