Updated: Aug 31, 2021
This book/course is about getting your book written. It is not about getting it published. We can help you with the publishing later but let’s focus on one thing at a time … one big thing at a time.
Writing a book is a big project and let’s not pretend otherwise. And publishing and marketing are another big project. Thinking and worrying about two big things is too much for most brains and that’s why so many good writers give up and why so many good stories are stillborn … or aren’t even conceived.
Do one thing today – write. And tomorrow – write. And the next day – write. That, for now, is your mission and we’ll help you get that book written, day by day by day. That’s enough to focus on right now.
So, a quick introduction to writing and writers:
There are two types of writers – pantsers and planners. Hence, there are two sections to this book – the first for pantsers and the second for planners.
Pantsers, like Stephen King, fly by the seat of their pants. Hence the name, pantsers. They sit down, each day, with the intention to get out of their own way, to be surprised and to see what is going to happen. They usually have no idea how the story is going to end, despite continually wondering what it might be.
Planners, like John Grisham, plan their whole novel long before they start writing. They might set up storyboards1 or vision-boards for each chapter, mapping out every scene. They know where the story starts and finishes and, only after they’ve built that detailed, predetermined structure, will they then start writing the story. It might not come out as planned but there’s a firm intention and a plan every step of the way.
Both John Grisham and Stephen King are successful writers and no method is better than another. It simply depends on the type of person and my advice is …
Do. Not. Obey. Other. People. Telling. You. How. To. Write.
Got that? Listen to them and then make your own mind up.
You’re made the way you’re made and to try and fit into something that doesn’t fit just gives you headaches, insomnia, exasperation and you’ll likely give up. Do not give up. Do not stop being yourself, with all the quirky weirdness that makes you what you are.
Some writers like writing in busy cafés (like me), some take themselves off to wilderness retreats, some like writing with herds of other writers – like the NANOWRIMO movement – and some … well, there’s an endless list of suitable environments.
Stephen King has a rigid daily routine that starts at 4.30 am with writing, breakfast, dog-walking, writing and he stops before lunch.
Paulo Cuelho writes for 24 hours a day, for two weeks a year, and then he has 50 weeks a year to travel and research.
James Paterson churns out so many books because he has a team of ten writers and he exercises editorial control.
David Gaughan, writer of The Blue Star (that I published), wrote his 80,000 words between midnight and 4.00 am, ever morning, over three months.
There’s an unlimited number of routines so play with different ideas, schedules, places and times till you find your preferred method.
There. Is. No. One. Way. To. Write.
Find your own rhythm, environment, drugs, therapist, tribe and system and just get on and write in the way that comes most comfortably for you.
There are, of course, many shades of grey between planners and pantsers so you’re not necessarily one or the other. Because you’re likely to be a unique hybrid, somewhere between the panster and planner, this book is designed with techniques, exercises and ideas for all writers on the continuum. You’ll find something in here, wherever you stand on the spectrum.
The lesson is to honour yourself, quirks and all.