Five Simple Steps to Start Writing Your Novel

Do you have a novel in you? A story idea that you’ve been dying to share? Or, do you want want to write a novel, but not sure how to get started?  If so, then this is for you.  

I say this because I honestly think that anyone who feels a calling to write, SHOULD WRITE. BrightLightLiving.com is all about living without regret.

Writing involves several steps and processes. The first — and most obvious — is GETTING STARTED. 

So, HOW do you do that?

Obviously putting your butt in front of a keyboard or a pen to paper is key.  But, then what?

Here are FIVE Simple Steps to Get Started on your novel.

1) Find your story IDEA.

Write down any and all ideas that come to you.  Walk around with a journal, notebook, or even your laptop and jot down any story ideas that you can think of.  It can be just snippets of ideas; it is not necessary to flesh out your ideas at this stage.

Your ideas may involve childhood memories or things you may have read that spurred an idea. Have you ever asked yourself, ‘what if’?  That ‘what if’ could inspire a story.  You will most likely come up with several ideas (and this is great).  At this stage, you are just brainstorming. Anything that comes to mind should be logged.

2) Spend a day observing.

What does this mean?  Talk less and listen more.  Keep your journal on hand and transcribe all your observations . . . the sunrise and its tapestry of colors, the man walking down the street in a slow, contemplative manner, the group of boys riding their skateboards on the sidewalk.  Anything you see, write down.  

You may not even use these observations, but they may inspire an idea.  Or, they may become content for future writing.  Regardless, what this exercise WILL DO is get the creative juices flowing.  Use this time and exercise to allow your mind to wander.  This calm observation allows words and ideas to flow.  

3) Determine the kind of story that you want to write. 

What stories do you currently read? Do you like mysteries, science fiction, romance, dystopian novels? Your novel should be about something that excites and inspires you. Writing a novel is a long and often tedious process.  In order to stick it out, it is important to write about what excites and interests you.  Do not force yourself into writing something you THINK the public wants or is marketable. If you are not ‘feeling it’ in the beginning, you definitely will not ‘feel it’ when the writing becomes more challenging. 

Now that you know that answer. . .

4)  Zero in on ONE story idea.

Listen to your heart and gut to decide on the one story idea that you want to pursue?  Several of your ideas may sound enticing. It is very tempting for writers to drop their writing mid-way and start on another idea.  (Believe me, I’ve done this.) But, you need to find that one idea and STICK WITH IT.

5) Answer the following key questions:

Before you start writing, answer the following key questions (be sure to WRITE DOWN YOUR ANSWERS). They will serve as a launching pad for your writing.

  • Who is your audience?  If you had to pick one person who you see reading your work, who would that be?
  • What are the major milestones of your story?  These milestones may change as you begin the writing process.  In fact, it is important to be open to change.  But, write down the major elements of your story that you see happening as of now.Write down what you currently see as your (a) introduction – how will you begin the story, (b) the conflict of your story and (c) the ending.  Do not fret if you are unable to come up with this; do what you can for now.
  • What is the theme or message that you would like your readers to learn?In answering these questions, please know that there are no wrong answers; anything you write down can change, and your answers do not have to be thorough. 

Starting out, you may only have a gist of what you want to write. . . and that is okay.  This is your beginning—your starting point.

Now start today. . .write and write without editing. Even if you feel that what you are writing is bad, JUST WRITE.

And tomorrow . . . WRITE SOME MORE.


You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Salainis

I had learned already many of the Outland methods of communicating by forest notes rather than trust to the betraying, high-pitched human voice.

None of these was of more use to me than the call for refuge. If any Outlier wished to be private in his place, he raised that call, which all who were within hearing answered.

Then whoever was on his way from that placed hurried, and whoever was coming toward it stayed where he was until he had permission to move on.

Salainis

I had learned already many of the Outland methods of communicating by forest notes rather than trust to the betraying, high-pitched human voice.

None of these was of more use to me than the call for refuge. If any Outlier wished to be private in his place, he raised that call, which all who were within hearing answered.

Then whoever was on his way from that placed hurried, and whoever was coming toward it stayed where he was until he had permission to move on.

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