A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. ~ Richard Bach
Following the introductory session last Sunday, our 2nd session on this project was encouraging as Aaron Livingstone, one of the pioneer writers of our community rejoined after being away for other priorities. We also welcomed a new member Faith Oyadaran. Faith was introduced by Oluwaseun Osanyiro and he wants to follow in her footsteps to write his first book.
It was an engaging one-hour of interesting contributions from most attendees and this is what we want to see. We broached areas like Outline per Emmanuel and I promised to share Daniel’s post from our writing retreat to illuminate the difference between plot and outline. You can read it here. Aaron mentioned the importance of Grammarly while Oluwaseun recommended texts like Crushing Procrastination by Deborah Funbunwhe and Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod et al. Finally, Aaron mooted AI and we delved into what it means for writers. I referenced Elon Musk’s recent interview where he said Google CEO Larry Page was seeking to build a digital super intelligence, a digital god.
Well, that’s it. Now we have a job to do, and that is to write a book in a year. It could be bad, it could be good, hell it might even be great, who knows? But if it’s your first book then it is natural to expect that it will not be excellent. William S. Burroughs said, “You do an awful lot of bad writing in order to do any good writing. Incredibly bad. I think it would be very interesting to make a collection of some of the worst writing by good writers”.
I believe a writer’s first job is to write. The rest is a function of variable components like audience, platform, publishers, etc. But first, you have to fill those blank pages.
In the past week, I scurried around the internet in search of resources that will aid us in the project and I can gladly proclaim that it was fruitful. What’s more, it is increasingly likely that I will be taking on more than one project before the end of 12 months. But I’ll whittle my optimism. One after the other is the overarching echo in my subconscious and I don’t want to overlook that principle.
So in addition to a previous post on writing resources, I will share two findings and hope you find them useful as we make progress.
1. The First 10 Steps To Write Your Book: I found this article to be the most concise guide for anyone who seriously wants to write a book because it captured all the basics. Of particular importance to me is item 3, PREMISE: This is where you describe the fundamental elements of your story like “Who is your character? What is their goal? Who (or what!) is stopping them from accomplishing it, and what will happen when they reach it?”
For example; Kobis wants to have Chinwe as his girl but Kunle, a police officer is dating her and Kobis thinks she’s being forced to remain in the relationship. He is determined to get her regardless of the consequences”. This is neither an outline nor a structure but just the simplest encapsulation of your story. In other words, your story is summarised in one sentence or paragraph. You can go ahead and read the entire piece and you will agree with me that it’s a solid prep to hit the ground running.
2. The 365-Day First Book Writing Challenge: This is a method that will blow your mind. It’s a system that defeats every writer’s biggest challenge which is filling those blank pages. I mean whoever came up with this ingenious idea deserves an award. Here you are required to write daily but you are not expected to write up to 500 words on any given day. The technique “leverages the fact there are 365 days in a year” by having a chart with each box containing the number of words to the corresponding day of the 365-day period. All you have to do each day is write between 1 and 365 words.
Now check this out; “You want to shoot for writing the highest number of words you can to cross the highest number off the chart, but as long as you write any number of words which corresponds with a number that’s still available on the chart, you’re golden”. However, if you stick to the chart, the maximum word count you will do on the day you write the highest number of words in the entire year of writing is 365. But the ridiculous part is that you can have days when you write as little as 1 or 2 words. Can you beat that? Surely writing that first book can’t be simpler.
There are many resources out there to help us achieve our target but the two links I shared above will surely get you started if you are determined to have your draft in 365 days.
Remember the most important factors are your DESIRE and DETERMINATION. As I always say, we don’t need thousands or hundreds of people to achieve this goal. It may seem like 99% of people out there don’t know or care about what you are doing but the fact that you belong to the other 1% means you are leading the way. So roll up your sleeves and let’s get going!