Before You Write

  • Before you write a bestseller, write a book.
  • Before you write a book, write a chapter.
  • Before you write a chapter, write some paragraphs.
  • Before you write some paragraphs, know what you want to say.
  • Before you know what you want to say, pinpoint what you WANT to say.
  • Before you pinpoint what you want to say, ask yourself why you want to say it.
  • Before you ask yourself why you want to say it, listen to the voice that forms the question.

Writer’s Block

“I have writer’s block.”

If anyone thought the process of constructing a story is a God-given process that just flows naturally and when it doesn’t, it’s because somehow the “receiving hole” got plugged up, they are in for a surprise.  A decent story lives; and it lives on real food.  (Try chocolate.  It works every time!)  It lives on what you put into it, and that depends what you put into you, in terms of fresh inspirations (experiences, go get them, Fluffy!), research (gee that can lead you places these days!), and observing people.  A decent story does not fall out of the sky.  Sometimes you have to be a bit of an engineer and sit and construct, instead of just inventing.  So you’ll be using both your right and left brain hemispheres (we should hope, otherwise you’d be laterally disabled).  And “Writer’s Block” is most likely one of three things:

  • A sign that maybe you’re bored with that story, because it wasn’t such a great one in the first place, or perhaps simply because you have moved on (let it go!)
  • a sign of tiredness  (go sleep or do something else!)
  • an excuse to try and avoid doing actual work on the story.

For me writing time is precious.  It has to be squished in between everything else (not just for me but, I’m sure, for countless writers!), I often have a bad conscience while writing because I’m avoiding doing something “useful” instead.  So writing time is laced with the delicious guilt of a semi-forbidden pleasure.  There’s no time for “block”.  If a story doesn’t work, it goes.

Those who truly write for a living (journalists, people who have to write up factual reports, etc) know that when you’re paid for a job, there is no space for a luxury like “block”.  You do what you need to, and finis.  You have a certain amount of time to complete an article, and that’s it.  If writers, who mostly write because it gives them pleasure, could adopt the same attitude to their stories, there wouldn’t even be a word for Writer’s Block.  Think about it.

About the Author
Lyz Russo is a writer and musician living in Pretoria, South Africa. She is the author of “The Solar Wind” series, which can be found and ordered through Book One of the series is available as a FREE download. She also has a blog called, “The Red Ant.”

Can You Write a Book? Yes, You Can!

Some people will tell you anyone can write a book. You may even have a teacher or an editor or a self-publishing guru tell you that you can write a book. But the reality is that telling you that you can write a book and telling you how to write a book are two entirely different things. Find out what it takes to start the process, outline the book, and complete the project.

  • Decide what you want to write about. Determine if you want to write fiction or non-fiction and choose a topic. Be willing to spend time doing research.
  • Create an outline of what you intend to write. The more details you add to your outline, the easier it will be later. Ideas disappear over time and you may be unable to remember that great idea you wanted to incorporate into your book.
  • For fiction, use stages of the storyline as chapter headings. List your characters and how they relate to one another in your outline. Insert them under the chapter headings where they will first enter your storyline. For short stories, list title possibilities with notes regarding your story ideas. List titles for poems in the same manner.
  • For non-fiction, create an outline by creating chapter titles. Correspond the titles to what you want to say about your topic. Add notes that will help you return to your thoughts easily when you begin to write.
  • Set aside time to write. Use a specific block of time to write every day or write when you can fit it in or when you feel creative. Consciously decide when and how you will write.
  • Make notes about your book as they occur to you or as you do your research. Interesting thoughts may not occur to you when you sit down to write; they may occur to you randomly throughout your day. Incorporate your notes into your work when you sit down to write again.
  • Work through your outline until you have completed your book’s first draft. Proofread your book from start to finish and make corrections and changes. Ask someone you trust to proofread your book.


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