Sunday, January 9, 2011

Getting Started

I will freely admit that I am still a new author. Though I have been fortunate to have three books accepted for publication, I am realistic; I will probably never be on the New York Times Bestseller List, nor will I ever win a Pulitzer Prize.

However, writing is my vocation and my obsession. I love to write - for me it is the pleasure and the emotional release I find in writing. So, when another writer contacts and says they do not know how to get started, I don't really know how to respond.

The one problem I don't have is starting a project. I can't remember ever starting a project on page one, but starting, to me, is the easiest part. I outline, chapter by chapter, so I will not forget what I want to include in the book. From there, I can build my proposal package, cover letter, and synopsis. Half the work is done already.

For me, the hardest part is knowing when to end a project. How much research to include? How long is too long? Should I divide it into more than one book? These are the questions which plague me. Making chapter after chapter flow evenly, editing, adding detail, these are the mechanics of writing. At some point, I need to step back, put the project aside for a few days, then take another look at it.

Too much information, too much description, too much of anything in writing, is counterproductive. So, I usually advise new writers, don't sweat the beginning. Get something on paper, it can always be edited, but starting is your spark of creativity. To be afraid to start is like trying to stifle your voice. Never fear the beginning of a project - you are the master of your creation. Jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride.


  1. I couldn't agree more about writing being an emotional release. And because I write humor, it's a green light to just sit down and not take life too seriously. It's a liberating feeling. Who knew crafting fake greeting cards could be so therapeutic? :)

  2. Ted, love your fake cards. I think you should try to get someone to pick them up. I know there are a lot of people out there, just looking for cards like that - funny and sarcastic.