Preparing to Write
Both Jodi Thomas and Jerry Jenkins, best selling authors in different genres, say the first step in writing is to have a special place to write. Jodi called it a writing nest. Jerry stated, "establish your writing space." We may use a couch and coffee table in one corner of our living room or a small building in the back yard. We use what we have at the time, but we need to have a spot where we can write.
Of course, the more comfortable and private the nest or space, the better. But, real writers can write almost anywhere, especially once they have trained themselves to write.
As with any career or hobby, a writer needs writing tools. So, we need to collect our tools. Some of us handwrite our first draft and need piles of tablets and multiple pens and/or pencils. Not having supplies where we can find them is a disaster. Everyone then types the manuscript on a computer. For some of us, we use the computer from the first draft onward. A few pay someone else to do the typing.
Jerry Jenkins states the publishing world runs on Microsoft Word, and it does. Therefore, writers need to have a MS Word program on their computers, whether a Mac or a PC. Some other processing programs claim to have interchangeable ability between its program and MS Word, which isn't always true. I know I have run into difficulties editing documents created in a different program, strange formatting and symbols rather than letters appear when changed to Word.
One point to remember, even if someone else does the typing after the manuscript is handwritten, an author still needs a computer for research and for communicating with potential agents, editors, and publishers. A writer needs the best computer he/she can afford, with the most capacity and speed.
Writers need to have everything that might be needed in addition to a desk or table: a stapler, paper clips, a ruler, a pencil holder, a sharpener, notepads, printing paper, paperweights, a tape dispenser, cork or bulletin board, clock, bookends, reference works, a space heater, a fan, a lamp, a beverage mug, napkins, tissues -- anything and everything that might interrupt working on the manuscript.
One piece of advice Jerry gives and with which I totally agree is not to try to finish a whole book in one sitting. He says, "Break the project into small pieces." Although we know our project will be at least 80,000 words, for example, we shouldn't think we must write all 80,000 words in one day.
Jodi advises setting a time limit each day for writing. She suggests beginning with twenty minutes, using a timer, each day, even if most writers will probably pass that time limit often. However, setting that limit gives writers an opportunity to take a small bite out of the large project every day.
Prepare and organize the main points and ideas for your book. I could write a whole book about this part of writing, but authors need to research, organize, and use some form of compiling information.
Finally, authors should set a goal, perhaps a deadline or number of words per day or number of pages in a week. I am using NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) as my goal to finish at least 50,000 words on my current book. I will write at least 2,000 - 5,,000 words each day to meet my goal. I used that to motivate myself to finish Burnt Offering, and the idea worked.
Jerry B. Jenkins https://blog.bookbaby.com/2017/12/20-step-plan-to-writing-a-book-part-1/
Jodi Thomas, keynote speech, Ozark Creative Writers Conference, (October 12, 2019)