Sharing ideas about writing led me to remember that you write what is in your heart and then edit to get a solid book. Too many times writers stumble around the details and never complete the story. It all comes back around to the motto about the only way to be a writer is to write.
I live this idea of writing words that matter, but I have never sat down and thought about what it meant. God has amazing ways of getting His thoughts into our heads - sometimes it is a gentle breeze and sometimes it is a swift kick - today it was a gentle breeze.
A quick hello in Facebook led to a discussion about where God was leading when I reconnected with a friend from high school. Sherri pointed out that it seemed we were on similar paths - and I had to agree.
I encouraged her to write her heart and edit the book and it was like I had been hit by a bolt of electricity (now that I think about it - my battery backup did flash so maybe there it WAS more of a swift kick than I realize).
Tips for Writing the Heart
1. Say what you mean. Stop thinking about who might read the story and be annoyed or upset. Put YOUR words down on YOUR paper and give the story the freedom to move where it needs to go.
2. Talk to the reader. Tell the story like you would to your friend or neighbor. Make it a clear path of revelation that will make the writing experience more enjoyable for you so that you WILL write.
3. Get to a place where your words are protected. Worrying about someone reading over your shoulder or picking up the notepad can hinder what you are willing to reveal. Put up a wall of protection that will allow the words to get raw. Think of it as writing naked - completely revealed.
4. Forget everything you have ever been taught about writing. Your journey is yours. No formula or rules will make it a reality. Allow the words to dictate your path. Write out an outline or skip the outline. Tell the story in sequential order or some other direction. Stop worrying about the how and just do it.
Tips for Editing the Book
- Read what you have written. There is a reason it takes a long time to write a book. You may be able to write 10,000 words a day, but you still have to read and review the words after the tale is told. Make notes about what you like, what you hate and what really should go in a new direction.
- Dare to kill your words. So many stories would have been better off if a few words had been left to die on the editing floor.
- Get input from unbiased sources. Get a printable draft completed (usually about the third or fourth round) and pass them on to people who will notice and point out the flaws. They do NOT have to agree with your point of view, the direction of the story or even what you say. You just need to listen and allow their words to help you solidify your story.
- Read what you have written - and out loud if possible. This pass through the story will reveal any trouble with the flow.
- Invest in beta readers. The final draft of your story will probably still need some tweaking. Give copies to people that read your niche (or that are willing to read what you have written) and see what reviews arise from their experiences.
The writing is for the words. The editing is for the book. Stop letting the editing hinder the journey of writing. Let the words flow without restriction and see where that flow leads.