Don’t get me wrong. I have been writing a novel, and I have been doing it for more than a year. I’m sort of finished with the creative part, and with the actual writing, but it might take me several more months or years to get it published. I really don’t know. Things are happening, and I’m finished with my third draft, and I have received some awesome feedback from a publisher, but I still feel that I have no idea what I’m doing in this industry.
But, it really doesn’t matter how long it takes.
I love to write, and that’s the reason why I am doing it. I’m not doing it because I have had a dream about writing a book, or because I want to become a famous author. It’s all about the words, and because I get inspired to write more, I want to keep writing. And, of course, it’s about the feedback as well. I love to share what I know, and some of the things that are going on inside my head, and I really enjoy that people share their thoughts on what they have just been reading.
And now it’s my turn to share the process of writing, and how I do what I do. And I believe that you can learn a thing or two from it.
How do I get inspired?
A lot of people ask me this question, almost on a daily basis. I know exactly what I do to get inspired, but to be honest with you, inspiration just shows up when I least expects it.
I have made a short video on how I got started writing my novel. And that shows you exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to inspiration. I’ll explain the video, mostly because I’m Norwegian and you might not understand my weird accent.
The process of writing. 3 steps.
In order to write, and keep writing, there are three steps I go through. This is a process and I believe that it probably can be added to any type of job or workflow. And when I started to realize how it all worked out, it was so much easier to keep going and producing whatever I felt like creating.
I’ll explain it in a second, but this is the process:
- Make a decision
- Find inspiration
- Find motivation
First. I needed to make a decision.
I decided that I wanted to write a novel. That was it. I didn’t decide on the content of the novel, but I decided that I was going to finish the first draft within a specific date. I believe it was in 8 months. No matter what happened, I was going to finish the first draft in 8 months.
I make decisions like this all the time, no matter if it’s a blog post, writing an ebook or creating a project for a client.
Second. I needed inspiration.
I didn’t have any content. I didn’t force a story. I wanted to discover something I really wanted to write. And I had a lot of different ideas. But, I always do one thing when I need to come up with ideas, and that’s to go for a walk.
I’m always a lot more creative when I’m out walking. But, I’m not going to go for the first ideas that appears. I keep walking. Don’t get me wrong, I take breaks, and I do a lot of other things as well, but I keep walking every single day in order to get the right ideas. The ideas I’m looking for might not appear the first couple of days, and it might not appear during the first week, or the second week, or even the first month. But, I keep walking to find inspiration.
Take a look at this video. I’ll explain how I discovered the plot for my first novel.
I promised you an explanation to the video, due to my weird accent, and here it comes. I was walking to work one day, and I always walk through the woods. It was fairly dark, and I have to admit that it was a little scary. I’m always completely alone in the woods at 6.30 am, and while I was going to cross a bridge, I looked inside and I thought that I could see something shiny on a tree, about thirty feet from the path. I decided that I wanted to walk closer to see what it was, and as I did, I discovered that somebody had painted a red cross on the tree.
While I was standing next to the tree, looking at the sign, I was asking myself the question, why someone would paint a red cross on a tree? I kept finding some interesting answers, and then, before I managed to cross the bridge, the questions had evolved into a story about a serial killer, killing people and covering their bodies with paint. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The colors of the rainbow.
You can probably say that finding the red cross on the tree was a coincidence, but I had been walking for a very long time, and I have been looking for inspiration wherever I could find it. And it was just a matter of time. If I wouldn’t have discovered the red cross, I would have discovered something else that would have turned questions into a story.
Third. I needed motivation.
I started writing, and I decided that I was going to tell people about what I was doing. I wasn’t going to keep it a secret. And the more people I told, the more people started asking and they became supporters. They told me that they really believed in what I was doing, and that they were going to buy the novel, and they kept discussing the process of writing a novel whenever I talked to them.
Writing is a lonely process. Sometimes I just sit and stare at the computer screen for hours without talking to a single person. I’m not talking about two or three hours, it’s more like seven or eight hours. And without any positive feedback, or any people contacting me and asking me questions about the story, and what it’s like to write a novel, and how on earth can I write about a serial killer, it’s a lot harder to write, a lot harder than it already is.
So, instead of just keeping my mouth shut, I look for people to talk to. I ask them for feedback, and I tell them that I want to talk about writing a novel. And I do my best to smile whenever they give me a compliment. This way they won’t stop giving them to me. I need every compliment, I really do. Writing a novel takes a long time, and it’s a lonely process. But I love every single minute of it, and no matter how long it takes to get it published, I can promise you one thing; this is only the beginning.