Have you ever had a novice ask you for professional advice and for a split second you want to look over your shoulder to make sure someone else who’s more of an expert in your field isn’t standing behind you. Nope, no one else is there. This person is looking to you to provide the professional advice!
This is how I feel every time someone asks me “How did you do it?” I’m like: :”Do what?” And the “it” is usually write a book. I am six years and fifteen books into my writing career, and honestly, I still feel like a novice. Whenever I sit down to write a new book I wonder how I got through writing the previous book.
Thing is there is no secret sauce or special formula for writing a book. I just take the time and put words on the page. That’s how I do it. One lunch break, writing sprint, and hand scribbled paragraph in a notebook at a time.
When I give that answer the person asking typically waits for me to reveal more. When more doesn’t come they tell me about their book idea, how they want to write the book, their plans for collecting their ideas before they write the book.
No. Stop. Don’t over think it!
Before publishing my first book, You Can’t Plan Love, I had three incomplete manuscripts saved on my computer. I daydreamed about them. I wrote a little bit on each one sporadically. I’d think about how great it would be when I finally had all three of these books published. Then one day I heard a writer say to stop “playing around”, pick one story, and write it.
That’s what I did. I focused on You Can’t Plan Love. I put all my energy into finishing that story and eventually I had a book to do something with.
So that’s it. The only advice I’ll give aspiring writers when they ask me how I wrote a book. I cut off all questions about characters, promotion, and publishing. Characters can be refined during revisions. How to get published doesn’t matter if there isn’t a manuscript not to mention nothing to promote.
Which takes me back to my original point. If you’re an aspiring writer stop planning what you’ll do with your book. Just write the book.
For writers what’s your advice for aspiring writers?