I have to admit, I am probably the last person to tell someone how to prepare for Book-in-a-Week (BIW). I am one of the biggest procrastinators when it comes to writing. I have only been saying, “I am going to start writing fiction”, for the past four years and I have found all sorts of reasons for not beginning. You might be asking why you should be listening to me. Simply, I can tell you what not to do so you can actually meet your goals.
Here we go:
Don’t Organize Anything
It does not matter if you are a pantser or outliner, you need to have some idea what you are going to write. If your book is fiction, you should at least have an idea who your characters are, what their goal is, and what is going to happen along the way. For non-fiction, you need to at least have a topic and a rough outline of what points you are wanting to cover. The reason for this is when you have a plan, you can sit down at the computer and start writing. You do not need to have an extremely detailed outline, just enough to get you going instead of staring at a blank page.
Keep Rewriting Your First Paragraph
This is what seems to stop me, a lot. Your first paragraph, first page, well your entire first draft is not going to be perfect. If you do not get words on the page, you will not have anything to fix. Do not edit while you type, just get the words out and then you will at least have a first draft. This is why a lot of people never get a book completed, they think the story should be perfect first time around.
Get Swept Up in Internet Research
Have all your facts, details, whatever already done before you start writing. I do not know about you, but once I get on Google I lose track of time. You know all those shiny objects, interesting side bars, etc., that catch you eye and before you know it instead of searching for names of cities, you watched a couple of music videos, found a new cookie recipe, and have forgotten what you were searching for. Some writers prefer to write with a pen and paper so this is not a problem for them. This does not work for me as my mind goes faster than my writing and my hand cannot keep up, but I type over 90 wpm. Instead of not being able to understand my handwriting, I can just look at the typed page. Figure out what works best for you and then use it.
Before the next Book-in-a-Week you need to make a plan to succeed. Going into Monday with no idea of what you are going to write is setting yourself up to fail. Like I said, you do not need an extensive outline, just a basic idea of who your characters are, what their conflict is going to be, and what you want them to reach at the end. For you nonfiction writers, making a list of chapters and what you would like to cover will keep you from having blank page anxiety.
Remember… make a plan, have fun, and then BIC HOK TAM (butt in chair, hands on keyboard, typing away madly).