Very often I meet people who say they want to write but don’t have the time, or they started a book ten years ago and hope to finish it, someday. The three questions I get asked the most are: When do you find time to write? How do you come up with ideas for your stories? And then there is the question that scalds my behi…well, makes me smile through gritted teeth: How much did you pay to have your book published?
Let’s address the time issue. The bare bones truth is that if you want to write a book no one can stop you. Well, that’s not exactly true, because only you can stop yourself from writing a book. Okay, so you’re saying you don’t have time. Years ago, I had a friend with three elementary school age children. She went to bed at 8:00 PM when she put her children down for the night. She arose at 4:30 AM and wrote until it was time to get the children up and ready for school at 6:30 AM. Instead of going out to lunch with coworkers, she brown bagged it and used that hour to work on her book. Now that’s dedication. Today, she is a multi-published author. What? Did I just hear you say…yeah, but. Trust me, you don’t have to go to a cabin in the woods to write. Hubby and I are avid motorcyclists. I can’t begin to tell you how many books I’ve written inside my head while riding on the back of the bike. Oops! There’s that ‘yeah…but, again. Here’s the plain truth–if you’re hungry, you’ll find something to eat. Apply that principal to writing. If you truly want to write, you’ll find a way to squeeze in the time.
Where do I get my story ideas? Everywhere. It probably helps that I was born with a huge imagination and can see a billboard advertising cigarettes and turn it into a western novel about horse rustling. Do you need an imagination to create stories? I don’t think there is a magic answer to that question. However, stories are all around us. Become the proverbial eavesdropper. Some of the best lines of dialogue can be overhead in restaurants or standing in the grocery store checkout line. Sometimes newspaper stories, words in a song or by letting your mind wander while folding clothes or waiting for your car to be serviced, or by listening to yourself helps prime your brain for inspiration. By doing this, you are opening up a world of endless plot ideas. Keep a small notebook with you to jot down your thoughts. A sentence or two is all you’ll need to jog your memory.
There are predatory services that disguise themselves as publishers. These predators are ready and willing to take advantage of people who desperately want to get published by charging exorbitant fees to print those individuals’ books. Note, I said print…not publish. There is a distinct difference; and that’s an entirely different topic. So, how much do I pay to get my books published. In dollars and cents ̶ nothing! In time spent at the computer and thought power ̶ many hours. Traditionally published authors write for reputable publishers who either pay an advance or who pays royalties on earned sales. Every traditionally published authors gets paid to write. We do not pay to get printed.
Are you still wandering if you can find the time to write or finish that novel you started ten years ago, or are you asking yourself if you have the talent to write? If you were challenged by a gang of outlaws to a gunfight, you wouldn’t show up with a snowball (or at least, I hope you wouldn’t.) The point is, arm yourself with knowledge. Join a writers group who will inspire you to write, who will educate you about writing techniques and reputable publishers, who will cheer you on when you think your writing has hit a brick wall, and who will celebrate with you when you sign your first publishing contract.
Whatever your personal writing challenges are, I’d be remiss if I didn’t invite you to visit Sunshine State Romance Authors, Inc. where members help writers find their voice, and where there are seasoned authors who are willing to share their knowledge with fledgling writers.
The most important advice I can give you about writing a novel is: You Can Do It!
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