Time to Write

Recently I stumbled across a blog post on "How to develop a story for your novel". The blog's title says it all for me: 'Time to Write'.

To backtrack a little, I spent the spring and summer packing up my house. Writing took a back seat, as did visits to the dentist (my abscess tooth moldered in my mouth for a full two months), and anything that didn't have to do with Moving House.

It struck me that this is a pattern I've cultivated in order to avoid loathsome tasks. My mantra had become: focus on one thing, to the exclusion of all else. Did writing a novel fall into the 'loathsome task' category? I thought so, until I spent a Sunday morning, recently, surfing the net. Before I knew it, I had read a dozen blogs - all of them were writers' blogs, as it turned out, instead of the self-help, motivational ones that leave me feeling more drained of motivation than anything.

But after reading Jurgen Wolff's practical tips on getting unstuck and moving forward with your novel, I realized that writing a novel isn't what I'm avoiding in my life.

It's the feelings of not measuring up, not being good enough, and therefore being unworthy. It's the pain that follows on the heels of these feelings that's kept me from the keyboard.

Jurgen Wolff has made it easier to stick my toe in the water. I don't need to plunge headlong into the deep end.

Instead, I can start at the beginning. He suggests asking the question, What if? Start with the bare bones of your character's life and flesh out a few possible scenarios.

"Sometimes at the end of a string of "what if" explorations you end up with a totally different character or story than you started with. That's fine, you're just playing around to explore and you keep going until you have a story you will enjoy writing and people will enjoy reading."
In other words, what if I could have fun with it?

How to Be a Writing Maverick

By Sophfronia Scott

Let’s face it. You read and study and seek advice from writing professionals like myself because you want to understand the convention of the publishing industry so you can be accepted and be successful in the realm. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I would like you to think about this for a moment: Sometimes there’s even more success to be had by going against the grain of what’s usually done. And there isn’t a better time than now to experiment with new approaches because these days “what’s usually done” in the publishing world isn’t working.

But before you set out to write the book that shatters convention or create the promotion that makes us all rethink how to sell a book, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help smooth your unpaved path.

Be Clear For Yourself
Know what you want to do and why you want to do it. Don’t worry if the reasons don’t make sense to anyone else. I’m sure no one could really understand why real estate maverick Frank McKinney wanted to write and publish a spiritual book, a real estate guide and a young adult novel all on exactly the same day, but I bet the reasons were crystal clear to him! Everyone else could only stand back in amazement as each book hit bestseller status. If you’re clear on your reasons for writing against the grain, it will help you to…

Be Strong in Your Conviction
Many people will tell you why you can’t do something–I could even be one of them! But if your plan is sound, and only you can know that for certain, move forward in the direction of your dreams. The book publishing industry has operated on convention for ages so it doles out the rejection slips like sprinkles in an ice cream shop. Authors like J.K. Rowling got more than their fair share. But because she held firm in her belief that her story of boy wizard Harry Potter was worthy, she was rewarded with a fortune.

Execute Well
It’s one thing to be a maverick. It’s quite another to be a bad maverick. I’m not even sure if there’s a proper word for a bad maverick. You’re just considered bad! If you’re going to write a book like no one has ever seen before, then it has to be good. There will be too many people waiting to say, “See, I told you it wouldn’t work.” Your work has to be on target and so polished it shines. A half-baked job won’t cut it.

Get Others On Your Bandwagon
When you write against the grain, it helps to have your own support team. You’ll need the positivity to outweigh the “no’s” you might hear along the way. Plus you’ll enjoy celebrating your triumph with people who were there with you the whole way–no johnny-come-lately’s at your party!

Show Some Personality
Now is not the time to sit back and be conservative with your writing. If you’re already stepping out to write something different, you may as well go all the way. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Your brash mind came up with the idea–let it come out with all that brashness intact. You’ll draw more interest in your project, and you’ll have a lot more fun creating it!

One Last Note: Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. If you’re doing something totally new, you might hesitate to talk about the project and keep it too much to yourself. Remember (and I learned this from author and coach Barbara Sher), isolation is a dream killer. The more people you tell about your bold vision, the more good energy you’ll build around it. And you’ll be that much more likely to drive that bold vision home.

© 2009 Sophfronia Scott

Sophfronia Scott is Executive Editor of the Done For You Writing & Publishing Company. Learn what a difference being a published author can make for your business. Get your FREE audio CD, “How to Succeed in Business By Becoming a Bestselling Author” and your FREE online writing and book publishing tips at www.DoneForYouWriting.com.