You are here:

Writing Books/Aspiring author!

Advertisement


Question
Aii~~ I used to live in Atlanta! I actually just moved from there 3 weeks ago to live with my grandparents in Alabama because I couldn't find a job...

....and I want to write books!

But I have overwhelmed myself..

I don't really know how to start!

I'm trying to read How-Tos and tutorials and articles and things.

Most of them say JUST WRITE. YOU HAVE TO WRITE. WRITEWRITEWRITE.

B-b-but.. that makes me very anxious, to just dive into it.

I'm too meticulous, I think. It also doesn't help I have mild ADHD and my attention span is that of a brick.

So if I have, in my head, myriads of different plots and characters and ideas and mashups of storylines, what do I do now?!

I already have writers' block and I haven't even started!

I really want to write! When I was little, I used to write tons of short stories (my pets were usually the characters.)
When I got a computer for the first time, I wrote tons of fanfiction!

But I'm now about 15 years out of practice.

Advicee?!?

Answer
Bobbie Christmas, book doctor
Bobbie Christmas, book  
The answer sounds easy, but itís not. Get out of your own way. Turn off the critic and just write. How, though, does a writer get out of his or her own way? The answer differs for each individual.

You have your ideas of what you want to write, so all you must do now is get those ideas down on paper, in whatever way works for you. Donít worry about editing, revising, refining, or even writing creatively. Simply get the ideas in your head down on paper, in whatever way you can. Some people find that if they write in longhand first, they donít get too meticulous, because itís too hard to rewrite in longhand. Once the story is down, they type it up, at which point they can revise, refine, or otherwise work with the details of it.

I have tried several other techniques, myself. One time I used a recorder and spoke into it as if telling the story to a friend. I later transcribed the recording. Another time I used a computer program called Dragon Naturally Speaking. I thought it might be even better than a recording, because it types while you speak. You have to teach it your language and speaking style and also speak all the punctuation and commands, however, which got in my way. It didnít work for me in the long run, but I did get one chapter written that way.

Some writers create a ritual, lighting candles or playing music in the background, to keep them in the zone and simply writing, without stopping and criticizing themselves while they write. Another excellent writer I know turns on the television, and the noise of the TV keeps her focused. Such a thing would drive me crazy, but thatís what I mean about the answer being different for each individual.

No one can sell a novel based on an idea. If you want to be a writer, you have to write down your ideas, get them out of your head and onto paper, in whatever way works for you. Once the idea is down, then you can manipulate, revise, edit, and refine it, but you should not do that part until the story is written.

Sign up for my free newsletter for writers at www.zebraeditor.com, and write, write, write!

Writing Books

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Bobbie Christmas

Expertise

Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.

Experience

Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Organizations
Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Publications
Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.