The day I started writing my book wasn’t a grand day. The stars hadn’t aligned nor was I sitting in a coffee shop beside a window where the sun shone down on me. The timing hadn’t been perfect.
I began forming the novel the day after Christmas. I was still tired from the nights I’d spent staying up during the holidays.
I was in my room with my mom and two sisters.
They were talking and laughing loudly, as usual, while I listened to The Script’s latest album. With my Freewrite propped on my lap, I was trying to write a short story.
Eventually, I became frustrated because I couldn’t come up with a decent idea. I turned off my device, then turned it back on a minute later because I still felt like writing.
While my sisters and mom playfully argued about who-knows-what, I moved to the desk. I raised my music’s volume, opened a blank page, and started writing.
I had an image in my head of two girls running through the woods, escaping some type of danger, so that’s what I brought to life.
At that moment, I hadn’t realized I’d started drafting my first novel. The next day, I wrote more, and I haven’t stopped since.
The day you start writing your book won’t be different from the rest
If you’re waiting for the perfect moment to begin writing your novel, it’s never going to come.
You don’t need to sit in a room by yourself, with candles lit around you to begin. You need to grab a journal or your preferred writing device and start.
On the 26th, I was sleepy. I was wearing sweatpants and a crewneck because I didn’t feel like wearing decent clothes. My family was loud, and pop-rock was blasting in my ears. Still, I wrote.
It doesn’t matter that your five-year-old is blaring the television. If your home is a mess, so be it. Who cares if you haven’t brushed your teeth yet?
Every imperfection is irrelevant. Your day will never be perfect enough for you to think, “I’m going to start writing my book today.”
You won’t start later
You can say you’ll start later, but you won’t. Even if you wait until the kids are out of the house or to have some quiet, you’ll find another excuse not to commence.
Instead, you’ll want to catch up on some tv. You’ll want to read, go out with friends, or give a million other excuses.
When you say you’ll start tomorrow, you’re saying you’ll never begin. You can always invent a new excuse to push aside a dream you’re afraid to chase.
Writing a book is intimidating, but that’s no reason to back down from the challenge.
Countless people have ideas for books stored in their minds for months — years, even. If you’re one of those people, then you have an advantage.
You know what you want to write. Now, you just have to write it.
Begin today. Don’t wait until tomorrow, until next month, or until NaNoWriMo. Find at least ten minutes to write down any words. It doesn’t need to be the beginning. It doesn’t need to be perfect. You only need to get it out onto the page.
Visualize how you would feel afterward. Imagine thinking, “Today’s the day I started writing my goddamn book!” After today, don’t stop writing.
What if you don’t know what to write about?
If you don’t know what your book will be about, write anyway.
What you produce today might not be your novel. What you write now will unlikely be what you continue to add to tomorrow.
You might not be able to say you started writing your novel today, but you can say you started the process.
Think of the next few weeks as a discovery process. Remember, you have to write a bunch of crap before you can get to a good story.
What matters most is that you begin. Most people never do.
It’s okay to be afraid
As I said, writing a book is intimidating. It’s likely the reason you haven’t started, even if you don’t know it.
It’s okay to be scared. Don’t ignore the advice I just gave; don’t give in to your fears.
You’re a writer, and if you want to write a book, you should.
The process is going to be a rollercoaster, but that’s exactly why you should jump on. Rollercoasters can be terrifying, but you get a thrill nevertheless. So jump on, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.