Here are the first four writing steps to success –
Step 1. Get your writing sanctuary ready – don’t take too long to do this – just a quiet place to write. It could be a desk in your bedroom, or den, or at the kitchen table. It doesn’t matter where, only that it is your place to write – for the most part – undisturbed. My writing sanctuary has a plague that says, We Create Our Tomorrows By What We Dream Today. I got it at the dollar store, but it doesn’t look like it – it looks like it belongs in a writing sanctuary. I have a couple fairies and some scattered rocks, my books, and books I use for research, my computer, music, soda (and water), and a whiteboard, where I storyboard my ongoing story. I’ll write more about that later.
Step 2. Schedule a consistent time to write and a consistent length too. Will you write for one hour in the morning? or at night? or when your baby is napping? Whatever works best for you, block that time out. It is important to give up some of the things you are now doing – for me, it was television – movies especially. That doesn’t mean you will never watch television again, that just means you are going to use your time more efficiently now – for what matters most. I am a full time author now, so I write shortly after I wake, after my morning walk, breakfast, personal meditation and study – that way the rest of the day is open for writing. I will write on into the evenings in fact. Yep. I love it that much. However, I am at that season in my life too. I am the mother of six children – all grown up, and I recently stopped teaching school, so my time is free to write.
Step 3. You have your writing sanctuary ready. You have a time blocked out. You’re sitting there at your computer, but what’s next? Quite simply – begin an ideas page. Write possible scenarios down and then choose the one that catches your fancy the most. Save the other ideas for your next book! There are ideas everywhere – I get great ideas from weepy songs, or scary movies, or the news (which is both weepy and scary.)
4. You’ve got your writing sanctuary, time, and topic. Now what? Okay – now, you start brainstorming – always asking the question, what if?
My entire No Angel series came from that all important question, what if? I asked, what if a guardian angel didn’t want to be a guardian angel? What if he didn’t like earth when he was there and didn’t want to go back? What if my guardian angel was not so perfect, but had flaws, like an attitude? That’s how I began to develop Jonathan Stewart – an angel with an attitude. So, take your idea and ask questions that begin with, what if? Keep writing the answers – do not delete any of them – just keep writing. I generally come up with a minimum of four pages of ideas and then whittle it down to the best ones.
Okay, those are the first four steps to writing success – tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about the great writing tool called story boarding.