Recently a student from my Just Write! Virtual Summer Bootcamp asked me how I write my books…do I have a disciplined writing schedule, or do I just write when inspired by The Muse? (I believe The Muse is God!)
I told her that while I believe writers should have some kind of consistent schedule, the way I’ve written most of my 7 books is that I will suddenly feel inspired, and compelled, to write ~ I sit down and write for literally hours. When I’m finished, I feel spent and accomplished.
While writing like mad, I often forget to eat or drink, something that is REALLY bad for your health, and which I told my Writers’ Bootcamp students NOT to do – “You need to take care of yourself.” It’s a disclaimer to help protect them,..even if I don’t follow my own advice in this. I’m trying to get better at it!
Do you have a writing schedule? Or do you write when inspired?
This is how I wrote Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love:
1. God spoke to me in His still, small voice the word promises. I began noticing the word reading the Bible, and began studying in the Bible about God’s promises and His faithfulness.
2. I bought the graphic for the front cover. I saw the intriguing picture that is on the front cover of my book at Istock.com. I was immediately drawn to it and knew I had to have it for a book cover, and bought it. God gave me the title for the book when I bought this graphic.
Later, I had my fab graphic designer Christine Dupre´ create the amazing front cover. She also designed the back cover and spine. The graphic would motivate at me times to keep writing. I wanted to see that beautiful pic on a book cover!
3. I entitled the chapters first – just one word for each chapter. For example, Abuse. Abortion. Adultery. Later, I added subheadings to the chapter titles, relating to Cinderella.
I’ve developed a system for my books now. For each chapter, I add either a Scripture or an intriguing quote just under the chapter title.
With previous books, I’ve created the chapter title after I write the book. Some writers outline each chapter (a paragraph to a page) before writing the chapter. I don’t do this.
4. I write. Sounds silly, but you have to write to write a book! Perfectionism and procrastination are often what trips you up and keeps you from writing a book. The getting started – and the finishing – are the hard parts.
Usually if I just make myself sit down and start writing, the words flow. Most of my books have taken several months to write. This book took me about a year to write.
It was the hardest book I’ve ever written, as it contains very personal info about me. The book is my memoir, but it’s much more than that. It’s about God’s faithful promises. I shared about how hard it was to write on Dr. Rochelle Valasek’s and Minister Sophenia Wade’s show, Testimony Tuesday.
I did extensive research for this book, that includes 178 footnotes and other resources in the back. The book has been described as “heavy” and “meat” in content (it’s not a children’s story!), but also as “riveting, powerful, raw.”
I didn’t write Promises In The Dark in order of the chapters. This is something I stressed to the students in my writing bootcamp. You can write the last chapter first, like Margaret Mitchell did when writing Gone With The Wind.
You can start in the middle. Or if you are someone who has to have all your ducks in a row, you can write the chapters in order. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3, and so on. Just write.
You’re going to be distracted as you write. It’s like when you decide to spend some time with God -praying, reading the Bible, or worshipping. Suddenly all hell breaks loose. The doorbell dings, a friend you haven’t heard from in years calls, your family bangs on the door for ridiculous things, you have an urge to organize or paint your office, you need to play Candy Crush (I actually don’t play Facebook games at all, but my friends do).
The devil doesn’t want you praying. And he doesn’t want you writing, either, if God has called you to write.
Deal with the distractions as best as you can – and keep writing. Here’s some tips to not get distracted.
Jeff Goins has 3 tips for distraction-free writing:
- Don’t edit while you write.
- Don’t format text.
- Don’t stop until you get to the end.
5. I edited and rewrote. Edited and rewrote again. Then my professional, awesome formatter Hanne Moon at Heritage Press did multiple edits before we went to print.
One of my writer friends planning to write 2 books was surprised and dismayed to find out she’d have to edit and re-write. “You mean after I write the book, I have to write more?” I laughed. YES!
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
Good writing doesn’t happen by itself or happen naturally. Good writing is hard work. Less is more. Writing must be tight. Concise. Lean and strong, no excess fat, as Stephen King says.
7. I made NY Times #1 Best Seller and raked in the millions. Just kidding. (We all dream of this as writers, right?!) What I am doing is continuing to market the book. Marketing is the hardest part! (You didn’t want to hear that, did you? You thought writing was the hardest part!)
As speakers and writers, it’s our responsibility to let others know what we offer to help them.
I believe this book has a valuable message. The world promises us so many things ~ and often leaves us empty, and many times filled with regret. God’s promises are for real and forever. You can count on Him and His faithful promises.
You can get the book by clicking here. Please share with your family and friends.
If you haven’t started writing your book, start today! If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please leave your comments below on your thoughts on writing.
Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” ~ Ray Bradbury, WD