Monday, June 24, 2013

Help! I have stories in my head that need to get out!

Last week, I saw a Facebook post where the person said something like, "Help!  I have stories in my head and I have a full-time job!  How do I get started?"

I sometimes forget that there are other people who are not as far ahead in their writing process as I.  Some have never started--or worse, don't even know where to start.

Let's start with the notion you have lots of stories and don't know which one to pick.  Here's what I suggest: sit down with a blank piece of paper and write down as many of the ideas as you can.  Some will be more fully-formed than others.  If this takes more than one day, so be it.

When you've exhausted your list, you'll also find that you're creating room for even more.  This is the fun part of writing: coming up with new ideas.  Be a magnet for new ideas.  Also, find an easy way to collect those ideas, be it a notebook or "Stickie" or Smartphone.  Trust me, you'll want to write these down.

Look over your list.  Pick a half-dozen (or less) that really jump out at you.  There will be at least one.  Once you've narrowed the list down, ask yourself which one is the most fully-formed.  If there are none, just pick one.  I don't care how: flip a coin or draw straws or the old eenie-meanie-miney-moe.

Now that you have your story chosen, sit down and write.  Set a daily goal or x amount of words or pages.  Write your accomplishments down on a calendar so you can track your progress.  I don't care if you have a full-time job and three kids.  At one time, when my now fourteen-year-old son was born, I worked three jobs: one full-time and two part-time.  I don't recommend it, for there were days I worked literally twenty-four hours straight.

And yet I still wrote.

You can do it.  Write for fifteen minutes to start with.  Then expand it to more.

Yes, you can do it.  It doesn't matter what it looks like.  The craft of writing will get better with practice over time.

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