How many times has it been when you’ve begged for some free time? How about that time when you needed some space to think of the story that has been boiling inside your head?
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has left almost the entire world in a state of lockdown. One may think of this time as a global catastrophe or one can utilize it to learn what they are passionate about.
We at MyCaptain, believe that the lockdown is a blessing that many think to be a curse.
If you are a writer, there has never been a better time to let your thoughts flow. Think about it, we mean really think about it…
You have the space you needed, the silence you wished for, as well as the time you longed for. However, you might be wondering,
How do you get started?
Well, don’t worry, we are here to help you write your book and turn that amazing idea into actual words.
We have impacted thousands of students across the country and in this article, we will discuss a few methods that you can use to start writing your own book.
Let’s get started…
Spend the first day outlining your book
So it is the first day of you starting your writing journey but it is also the most confusing and difficult one of them all. Chances are that you had tried writing before but couldn’t go beyond one week.
The reason is simple, you didn’t prepare for the battle that is about to come.
Writing a book is an overwhelming task without a doubt. It leaves new writers getting lost in their own stories, thinking in an endless loop.
Almost every author has faced that feeling.
However, there is a solution – outlining your book
Think of outlining as you building a blueprint of your story. It includes all your characters, plots, scenes, etc.
Moreover, an outline can be a page long with a few details or it can be detailed and synopsis-sized. It can even be in bullet points or in an essay form.
Whatever suits you.
The outline is there to help you navigate as well as plan your book. A couple of things you can include in your outline is the estimated word count as well as the amount of time you will take to write your book.
Outlining isn’t a necessary step. There are many authors who go with the flow and discover more about their story as they proceed.
However, we suggest beginner writers have a small brief of their book before getting started. Moreover, using the first day of lockdown to draft a detailed outline will help you started much easier.
Build a habit first
It’s probably your first book and you are probably just getting started. Thus, it is important to focus the first week to build the writing habit rather than going all in.
Most writers fail to finish their book because they fail to build a habit of writing regularly. They jump straight into writing and after finishing a few pages, they don’t see results. This makes them want to stop everything.
So the key is to focus on building a habit first and focusing more on the process rather than the outcome.
Use this lockdown to first build a habit. Don’t set goals for yourself and your book just yet.
Instead, set a minimum of two hours a day aside and dedicate them towards writing your book. No word count needed, just you spending time writing.
You don’t have to write every day and if you are a human, chances are that you won’t write every day.
Only this time, you will not judge yourself for making that mistake. We suggest writing for at least two hours for a minimum of five days a week.
The science behind building a habit is simple,
- Your brain needs a cue – this can be your morning coffee you grab or listening to Lo-fi music
- The cue triggers the behavior – As soon as you grab your coffee you automatically open your phone and check Instagram.
- A reward follows – A small amount of dopamine rush is released in your brain and you feel good.
To build a habit, it is important to have all three elements: cue, behavior, and reward.
For example, force yourself to start writing as soon as you are done brushing your teeth. Once you are finished, eat a bar of chocolate as a reward.
Soon you would have built a habit
Set goals next
Once your brain gets accustomed to the whole process, you can go ahead and do some goal setting.
A 2015 study by psychologist Gail Matthews showed that people who wrote down their goals were 33 percent more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads.
To set your goals, divide the number of words you are aiming to write in the book with the number of days you will take to finish it.
For example, Let’s say your book is 100,000 words and you want to finish it in three months. That means you will roughly need to write 1100 words every day to finish your first draft in three months.
As a beginner, it is very important that you first build your habit. But once you find yourself not spending a day when you don’t write, start setting goals to take your skills to the next level.
Let go of all the distractions
The number one reason you are probably not able to utilize the lockdown to be productive is all the distractions.
The constant buzzing of your phone, your friends wanting to play Ludo King, and Netflix releasing new web series and anime. Add to all that the notifications from Instagram and Snapchat.
We understand that it is difficult to not check your phone while staying home all the time. However, while you are writing, you need to isolate yourself from all the distractions.
Use tools like Freedom and features like airplane mode or do not disturb mode. Or simply, turn off the WiFi.
Additionally, you can tell your parents or people you live with to not disturb you during your writing session.
As a writer, it is very important that you focus and not allow your mind to talk you out of it.
Research shows that when we have our phone beside us, our attention span is about as much as 40 seconds. That’s correct!
Only forty seconds before we check our dm’s and other notifications.
Thus, it is important to turn off all the distractions and focus on one thing and one thing alone – Your dream!
Spend some time learning
Are you familiar with the philosophy of yin and yang?
Although there are many meanings, on a basic level yin and yang refers to the balance between two opposite forces.
Why are we telling you this?
Because only writing isn’t going to work. You’ve probably tried it already.
The solution is to find a good balance between things. Sure, spend time doing something but also, don’t forget to learn something.
There are many reasons why you should focus on learning as much as doing but in this case, curiosity plays a big reward.
Learning keeps your mind curious and as a result, you want to explore more and do more. Moreover, it will help you implement the things you learn today in your next writing session.
Due to the lockdown, online classes and workshops have become a great way to learn how to write. But you can’t trust them all…
MyCaptain’s Live novel writing workshop connects you with published authors that will become your mentors. We believe in the efficiency of one-on-one learning and thus, we let you connect to your mentors at your own will, whenever you desire.
Check out our LIVE workshop to know more.
An amazing tip to improve your storytelling
Whether you are writing a fictional or a non-fictional book. Whether your book is about a prince and a dragon or whether it’s a self-help book, one key skill that will help you write a good book is storytelling.
Storytelling is the foundation of any form of art. Its the basis of human beings and we love to tell a tale despite the methods.
If you are writing a fictional book, we have an amazing tip to improve your stories 🙂
Start analyzing the stories of your favourite movies. If your story is inspired by a certain book or a movie or even a TV show, analyze it.
Learn all about their structures and their characters. Once you’ve done your analysis, we want you to take it a step further and write a particular scene from that story.
This will help you understand where you stand as a writer as well as a storyteller.
We are encouraging you to simply copy and paste the words but read or watch the story and write it in your own words.
However, the practice of analyzing other stories shouldn’t get in the way of you writing your own book. The point of this practice is to improve by watching or mimicking the pros.