There is nothing more daunting than staring at a blank screen. You have the idea and inspiration but when you sit down to start, you can’t get it going. We’ll today’s blog is about finding ways to just get it out. In a previous blog about writing on deadline I hope I sold you on the power of an outline. If not, then let me try again. Often times when we can’t figure out how or where to start, writing a simple outline or sequence of events can help you clarify the beginning, middle and end. Once you know where it begins you can usually go ahead and write,even if you decide to start at the end and work you way back to the beginning. Writing is a lot like taking a road trip. In order to arrive at your destination, you first have to know where you are and where you want to end up. Whether you do an official outline or not, chart a course and then be on your way.
The next most discouraging thing is to begin writing and then for one reason or another you become distracted. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes and always seem like a good thing at the time. But when you look up and its six months later and you still haven’t progressed any further its time to regain your focus and get back to it. Re-examine your purpose for beginning the project in the first place. Get back to that place where the only thing matters is getting the story out.
If that is not enough, you finish the book and now it’s time for revisions and editing. Don’t get stuck in revision purgatory where you edit your work for all eternity. I typically shoot for three drafts. At that point, let it go and let someone else look at it. They will find all the little things you keep missing. Then you can publish it and get it out into the world. If you are one of those people with piles of manuscripts collecting dust, find an editor and turn it loose. I understand that everything was not meant to be published, however, if you call yourself a writer and want to do this “for real” you have to give your baby to the world at some point.
So to recap:
- Outlining is a great tool to get you focused and give you a plan of action to follow from beginning to end
- Distractions will cost you time and momentum. Learn to ignore anything that doesn’t take you closer to your goal.
- Eternal editing and revisions is just another form of procrastination that you must over come if you want to get that book out.
Until Next Week,
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin
- Writing On Deadline (azrealbooks.wordpress.com)
- How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 6: Outlining (donovanmneal.wordpress.com)
- So You Want To Write Great Articles For Marketing (moneymakingblog101.wordpress.com)