Take a moment to consider your deeply desired ambitions – of the creative kind at least. Is there a book formulating inside of you? Do you feel the need to commit those words to paper and to breathe life into your idea? If yes, let those words start to generate. When it comes to writing a book, it’s important to understand the process. This is important because it is not just about creativity and how to capture it. The aim is to keep one step ahead of the checklist and to streamline your approach.
Writing a book? Create a website
You may be wondering why creating a website would help if the writing process is taking over, but your website is really important. It becomes a marketing tool. It also helps to brand you as an author too. You can start to connect with your potential readers even while you are writing. Create a blog and detail your journey from the starting point all the way through to the published product. Others will be interested to see how you get on and before you know it, you have developed a following. You can also create and send out newsletter updates. It’s easy to forge the foundations of writing success. Creating a dedicated following is vital for your success. Add snippets from your book to your newsletter so that it incites interest from those who might buy your book.
Share your journey
Writing a book is like capturing a little piece of yourself. Yes, it is true. This is whether fiction or non-fiction. You write from the heart, from your experiences and with passion. You spend hours or days researching, fact-checking or, you sit mulling over ideas so to expand your book’s potential. Sharing that process, that journey of creativity with others is a great way to develop a connection with those who are likely to share your goals or who just love to read.
Your website is a part of you. Develop it, expand it and share it to family and friends and on social media. Do so with integrity and drive. Map your journey and learn by any mistakes. There’s no doubt about it, your own personal author page can start you on the stepping stones to success.
We all know that finding time to write can be a mammoth task. Most days, you have to juggle everyday chores along with a rising workload. But what about now? What about this period of enforced lockdown? Unless you are a key worker, you will have more time on your hands than you ever imagined. If you enjoy creative writing, doesn’t it make sense to make the most of your writing time while you can?
Your writing time is precious
In the first few days of being at home, you may have considered setting time aside to write. But when? Do you write early in the morning or late in the day? When home, it is all too easy to be distracted. You have the Television on and spend more time watching it than writing. It distracts you. Perhaps, if alone, you are not used to the silence. For some reason, the words will just not come. Or you live with family members and you are all forced into this slightly surreal existence.
There is no doubt that it takes time to settle into a routine of sorts. You will have your inner frustrations to deal with. If like many, you will resent that your freedom has been restricted even if you understand why. You may have to help others through their frustrations too. This is a situation in which no one is prepared. Another thing to consider is that change is not always good for anyone with a creative flair. The uncertainty is unsettling. Lockdown may stifle the creative process.
Where to start
If you want to make the most of your writing time – clear your mind. Take a deep breath and come to terms with your situation. It isn’t easy but the best way to deal with any situation is to accept it. Imagine space between your thoughts. If you are good at visualising, imagine walking in the corridors of your mind. Let go of all other thoughts. Meditation works really well and can be used to increase the sense of peace that you feel within. That’s really important at this time. Release any frustrations too – meditation and yoga together work beautifully and help to still the mind and relax the body.
This may not be the usual route to writing success but it works.
Tap into your reality
The one thing you may not wish to do while living this situation is to think more deeply about it. However, it can actually be a starting point for your writing. If you write about the things you know and have experienced, it breathes renewed intent into those words. Although we are all sharing these strange times, no one will know your situation as you do. When you write about it, others will be able to empathise when they read your words. You don’t have to write about the virus but use it as a springboard to other creative writing ideas.
Think about using keywords such as escape and freedom to spark the creative process. Create a mind map allowing the thoughts to flow from one idea to the next. Most people would agree that the thought of freedom right now is high on their list of needs. If you close your eyes, you may transport yourself to a sunny beach scene, to a walk along the river or transport yourself away on a city break. Your idea of freedom may be very different from someone else’s. We all share the knowledge that everything we have ever taken for granted in life is highlighted at this moment. Our health is under attack, the prospect of going on holiday is over and even, a long walk may be subjected to public criticism. Life has changed in ways we could not predict.
Take the concept of freedom and consider what it means to you. Take the battle for health and wellbeing and how this lockdown has turned your thoughts inwards so you worry about yourself and others. These are very real emotions. Weave these elements into stories that show the human response to situations that test each and every one of us. Create a story that grips and compels readers to continue. There are literally hundreds or, thousands of ideas that could be created as a result of these initial starting points. When you write, do so with the readers in mind.
Creating characters that reach out to readers
Once you have your idea, you also need to create well-defined characters. Place them in your melting pot of a story and let the frustrations of that plot create uncharacteristic actions. To do this, spend time getting to know your characters. To make the most of your allotted writing time, create character profiles and have fun with them. Consider the following:
Who are these characters?
Why do they think and feel in specific ways?
What has happened to them up to this point?
The more detail added to your profiles will strengthen these creations. It will aid the belief of those who read the story. You will also be able to write with greater conviction. Writing affords an escape into the untapped potential of your mind. It also gives you some control. In a way, you play God with your characters and can take the story in any direction you like.
No one could predict the extent of this pandemic or how it would affect us all on a global basis. But it makes sense to use this time wisely. Creative writing is so therapeutic. Even if you are not planning to let others read your story, just enjoy the whole process. It is fun.
Let your creativity run riot. It is liberating.
Once the risk of catching Coronavirus has reduced, life will gradually go back to some sort of normality. There may be much less time at your disposal so, tap into a little creativity today. You can make it a family event – even if you are not all locked in together. Make use of Skype or Zoom. There are so many apps that can bring you closer together. Even if you want to have some alone time, use lockdown to relish the creative process.
If you are after a traditional publishing deal, there are many reasons as to why your book might get rejected and it may have nothing to do with the quality of your words. While it is important to make sure each word has been highly polished, your storyline or topic could be the reason as to your rejection. If the theme is all-too-familiar to the agent or publisher, there may be too many books all vying for publication. Following the Harry Potter book success, publishers were inundated with variations of this theme.
Writing a book is hard work and this doesn’t stop when the last word is committed to paper. It’s important to research for the best agent or publisher to approach. Not all representatives in the publishing industry are equal. They must be familiar with the topic or the genre before considering representing you. Place a manuscript in the wrong hands, and a rejection slip is likely.
If you have been a writer for a long time, you’ll know the frustration of trying to get published in the days prior to self-publishing and Amazon. It was extremely difficult to incite the attention of an agent or publisher and when the rejection slips inevitably wound their way back, they often didn’t hint as to the reason why.
Now, self-publishing has become the norm. It opens up so many opportunities these days. It gives unique access to the dream that was typically forbidden to many – yes, even potentially great writers. Rejections were so commonplace that it took something more than a little special to earn an official ‘published’ status. So while self-publishing has made tremendous progress, there are still many people who feel unsure about the ethics of doing so.
If you push that thought aside, instead, consider what self-publishing could mean for you personally. It gives you the chance to earn some extra money from your creative endeavours. It gives you the status of published author. It also means that you can build a dedicated readership and, still gain traditional publishing success if you so choose.