So you want to start writing a book. However you go about your story, what will really need to capture is a good start – a good first impression. The start is the most important thing – whether it’s a blog post, a movie, a tv show, a book, whatever, if it doesn’t have a good start, people won’t be compelled to go on reading/watching/listening to it. It’s kind of like a blog. Once you’ve driven traffic, you need to sustain it and that will come from the first impression. And that first impression for your book will come from the start.
WHY YOU CAN’T START WRITING A BOOK
A lot of my friends have a lot of drive, a lot of motivation, and have amazing ideas, but they don’t know how to start. The start, for me is sometimes the best and easiest and sometimes the hardest. There are probably two reasons why you cannot start…
- You’re a perfectionist
- You have no ideas
- You have no words
If you fall under either one of these, then stay. In the following post, we’re going to talk about (in a lot of detail and at the same time, briefly)…
- Overcoming perfectionism
- Getting ideas
- Getting the words
So without further ado, let’s get into how you can overcome perfectionism and/or how to get ideas. Make sure you read through carefully. This post is coming right from my brain and trust me when I say, I’m experienced in this field. And a disclaimer, this is not about ‘how to write a good start’, but in fact, it is ‘how to start’.
First of all, I’d like you to read this post by Megan from LivingBetweentheLines. She wrote a post on how perfectionism is killing our passion and while this may not relate to how to start writing a book, it is very true. Next, let’s talk about why being a perfectionist is stopping you from starting this damned book.
If you’re a perfectionist, like me, you want this book to start out amazing and beautiful and awesome and capturing and luring and oh, the things you want this start to be. The truth is, every time you write down your start, you scrap it because you think it’s not as amazing and as beautiful and as awesome and as capturing and as luring as it could be – or rather, as you want it to be.
If you’re ever going to go anywhere with this book, you’re going to have to say goodbye to your inner perfectionist and just put it to the side. Then start writing. If you want it to be amazing and beautiful and awesome and capturing and luring then take it from me, YOU’LL NEVER GO PAST THE FIRST CHAPTER, and that’s where you’ll stay.
What you need to do is crush your perfection and write your start and MOVE. AHEAD. Otherwise, you’re going to stay stuck staring at the words ‘Chapter One’ forever. Besides, you could always come back and edit it once you’re done. You’ve got a million other drafts to do before you publish, you can change the start whenever you like.
And this goes for whatever part of the book you’re writing. Your inner editor will continuously try to invade and tell you it’s wrong and bad and you need to write better, but you’re going to have to ignore him and KEEP.ON.GOING. I wrote those words in caps because they’re the keywords here. If you don’t keep on going on, nothing’s going to happen. It’s going to stay in your computer/notebook and that’s where it is going to stay, lost in a maze of other forgotten folders. You need to make sure it hits paper and then shelves, too. But that’s never going to happen if it doesn’t hit the screen in the first place.
So you have no ideas. That’s okay, we’ve all been there. It’s normal. There are times when you might be having a creative slump or, to be more specific, a writing slump. But what’s not normal? You sitting in your bed and complaining. If you want this project to move on, then get out of the bed and WORK to get those ideas. That’s the only way you’re going to go ahead and ‘start writing a book.’
WHY NO IDEAS?
Why do I have no ideas, you ask? This is because you planned your story, but you didn’t plan it well enough. You planned, for example, that a certain ‘they’ are running from the monster, they destroy it, and awaken it’s mother. They need to restore a diamond to its place in order to put the mother back to sleep. But what you didn’t plan, is how the monster found them. How did they manage to run from wherever they got attacked? Basically, what you did, is you didn’t plan out the story in detail. And these things will, later on, be a hindrance to this book hitting shelves.
How do you conquer this problem? Well, there are three things that will help you start writing a book.
- Get out.
And it doesn’t matter if your story is the farthest from reality, even if it’s fantasy, these small details are what come from real life. Okay, here’s a wild example. If one day, someone predicts the future and tells me I’m going to write a book which will contain a grandmother who loves to feed her twelve-year-old grandson from her own hand, I’m going to believe this ‘someone’ in an instant because I know my grandmother does that and if I needed to describe a grandmother, I would look to mine for the description.
Another thing you can do is read something. Maybe a book, maybe a newspaper. Get ideas from there and put your own twist on them. Let’s expand on my first example. Maybe you read a newspaper where a fire broke out in a house in the absence of the adults and the children managed to escape. So you think, ‘Man, this is similar to my story!’ You think hard and long, and you come up with this: The monster that breaks in can shape-shift into black smoke. It went into the pipes and ended up in their lounge and attacking everyone but ‘they’ escaped through the back door. Pretty good for a start, huh? Now all you need is good words. In which case, roll on number three.
OUT OF WORDS?
So you’re staring at a blank document on your screen. You know what you need to write and you know it’s not going to be perfect, but ya don’t care. But no clue how to write it. AKA, you’re out of words. This is a very common reason for me, and it’s usually why I can’t start writing a book. But fret not my friends, I have a solution for you.
GET THOSE WORDS.
For now, I’ve figured only one way of getting out of this. There may be more, but I have not yet discovered those. What I have discovered, that helps, and works for me every time, is reading. Think of the mood of your start. Is it creepy right off the bat or does it start off happy? Is it a typical high school scene or a strange murder scene?
Once you’ve gathered all these things, read other books with a scene or start moods like the start vibe you’re going for. Look at the words they’ve used. How have they structured their sentences? And as fake as this may sound coming for a thirteen-year-old, it works for me, believe it or not. Look up words like the ones they’ve used in a thesaurus, look at synonyms, antonyms, idioms and all that confusing ish I learned in seventh grade English class. Once you get the idea, you should be good to go.
And that’s it! That’s how to start writing a book. Now I’m out of words. Are you writing a book? What are your struggles with starting or just struggles in general? Let me know down below.