How To Start
Writing That Novel
The hardest part
of anything is getting started. “Where do I
begin?” you ask yourself. “How do I know where I’m
going?” “It’s a long haul -- I’ll never make it!”
Well, every writer who has ever had a novel
published has heard these words in his or her
head. And if they can do it, so can you! What’s
more, there are professional novelists who are
eager to teach you the basics of how to start a
Many writers feel blocked because think they have
to know the entire story before they begin. In
some cases, it can help to make an outline. But
the best thing to do is to just start writing!
Visualize a character – let’s call him “Bill”. Is
he in an apartment? An office? A park on a windy
day? Start by describing him: his age, his height,
his hair color. Then see where he goes! “Bill”
will tell you his story, if you listen. Then other
characters will appear, and their stories will
intertwine with Bill’s. Pretty soon you’ll be
writing a novel!
One of the secrets to getting started is to find
the conditions that allow you to write. Some
people need quiet and solitude. Others like to
work in the middle of a noisy café. You need to
learn what works for you best. Experiment. Try to
find a place that you can devote to your writing.
Your bedroom. A favorite park bench. The public
library. See if you can concentrate there. Then,
when you’re focused, start writing that novel!
It’s also important to figure out what time of day
works best for you. Some writers need to do their
work first thing in the morning, when their minds
are fresh and clear, before the obligations of the
day press in. Other writers like to work at night,
after the kids have been put to bed or the dog has
been walked or the thousands of things that fill
the day are done.
Which time provides the best energy for you to
work? Once you get started, you may be able to
work at different times. But getting started often
requires you to carve out a time that’s just for
you and your new book.
The secret to doing anything is to take one step
at a time.
And there are professional writers who want to
help you to take that first step towards writing a