Many people have a lot to say and a lot to contribute to others. Some are able to express it in words; some through paintings, others via songs… Each and every one of us IS an artist. A mother that prepares a delicious meal IS an artist in her own rights. It takes imagination, creation and the application of one’s talent in whatever area he/she chooses to express him/herself.
What would be the most important rule for one who chooses to express his thoughts and ideas through words? As Neal Gaiman said: “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
How true! This is the very first rule one should follow. I call it: Start With Small Steps: If you managed to write only a few sentences per day, so be it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just remember to keep on going and write something EVERY day. The process of writing is not unlike working out at the gym. If you keep at it, you would eventually build strong muscles and a body that would easily be able to run a marathon. Do you want to be a successful writer? Then you have to write every day, and read every day. Write! Write and write! The more you write the better writer you will become. It maybe hard at first but it will get easier and easier and before you know it, words will start spilling out followed by phrases, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and voila! You end up with a complete book in your hand.
Before you sat at the keyboard you must have had a general idea of the story and the main characters. Right? Here comes the second rule: Write what comes your way. Start telling the story. You are the creator of your characters and if you are doing a good job, they will start telling you what is next. They will tell you how they would react in certain circumstances, what they would feel or say. Listen to them. Move with them. Live their lives, get into their heads and find out what they think. Keep writing the story even if it sounds stupid, ridiculous or unreal. These things can be fixed during the process of editing. (A few words of caution: do not edit as you go, as that would slow you down and stop the flow. Editing is done best AFTER you had told the whole story.)
I’ll tell you how I started writing my (soon to be published: The Jewish Gypsy) historical fiction. I initially wanted to write a Gypsy love story so I researched the Internet until I came across the most surprising and shocking piece of information. That was the point when I decided to write a historical fiction that takes place during WWII and a love triangle between Gypsies and Jews. I had the basic idea and the first two main characters. I sat down to write the first chapter and that lead me to the next. My characters woke me up in the middle of the night telling me what they would or would NOT do and I just kept on writing what came my way and spilled out the words without a second thought. I wrote for at least 5-6 hours per day. After eight weeks I had the whole story completed to my great satisfaction. I ended up with a full product because I followed to the dot the two important rules: Start with small steps; write write, write. And write what comes your way.
Hope this article inspired you. See you in Writing a book? You Should Know these Rules Part II.