I met the gorgeous and highly talented Kelsey Humphreys at the Launch Out Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma this year. The second her feet hit the stage, she had everyone's attention. She pumps people up! I always thought I had to have this perfectly organized life to finish my novel. Hm. Maybe that's why I don't have a published book and Kelsey does. Hm, indeed! Read this, people. Kelsey is about to give you a peek into a whole new world. Follow her advice, and you'll be on the right track.
“You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”
Start with What You Have
If you're an aspiring writer with nothing "written down," you're probably intimidated and discouraged. However, you are reading this post. You keep coming back to the idea of becoming an author, or at least writing in general. Don't let the white page, or the lack of any filled pages, scare you. Think about your thoughts. You're probably bubbling over with ideas, or else why would you feel the urge to write them out? Over the past few years, I had jotted disjointed notes in my iPhone Notes app about leadership, creativity, and marketing. I started blogging every so often about quitting my job to start my business. I had unfinished notes on physical pads of paper everywhere. Why do I have so many different journals and notepads, anyway? It's ridiculous. I also kept a long, unorganized Google Document. The term
is generous. More like
Google Word Swamp
Google Random Paragraph Mash-Up
. If I had been smart, I would have also recorded audio bites on my drive to work, when I would often think up great ideas. With the new waterproof phones coming out, we can all start to take over the world, one idea-filled shower at a time! I hope what you're gathering from this is that you don't have to have a book proposal, an outline, or a tentative title to get started. You don't even have to have one concise book idea.
Just take the thoughts you have
and get them out
Start a private blog or a new journal. Eventually, you will start to see some themes, or you'll be able to look back and create a theme throughout your awesome thoughts. That book proposal, outline, and title will eventually present itself, I promise you. And hey, if it doesn't, feel free to use
Google Word Swamp!
Start Where You Are
Everything I’ve read about writing a book says to write in the wee hours of morning in a special place that is specifically for writing. Set the mood with a comfortable setting, the perfect cup of coffee, and let the inspiration flow. Some big-time authors have even rented cabins in the woods for weekends or whole months at a time! If you have a full-time job, family, or you know, life, getting in the way of that perfect picture, be encouraged today because that was not my writing reality. Instead, at random times of day, I would put my infant daughter down for a nap, run to my laptop, and type feverishly on a toy-littered couch, hair undone, still in my pajamas, until she woke up. I didn’t follow my own advice to solopreneurs about waking up early or staying up late because my child was not sleeping through the night yet. She still isn't. Lucky me. She does take pretty good naps, though, and so I am paving my own way. Maybe I’m a whole new breed of writer: the Working Mom Author. How glamourous. The vision of writing at sunrise in a light-filled study all alone with my coffee seems way cooler. My point is that you can start writing right now, where you are, in some way. Like I said above, just get them out! Write during your lunch break. Record audio while you drive. Write on your phone while you wait at the doctor's office.
Let go of the idealized version of writing a book and start living
version of writing a book.
If I can do it, you can!
What other struggles have you faced starting out as a writer? What scares you most about getting started?
Kelsey Humphreys is an emerging authority on the subjects of branding, marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal development. Her passion for those subjects led her to become the Associate Creative Director in one of Oklahoma’s largest advertising agencies. She was then able to quit her dream job for her dream: starting her own business. Her entrepreneurial journey led to the completion of her upcoming book, due this fall. She now speaks, consults, coaches, and writes on the subjects of personal branding and marketing to help other "solopreneurs" as they pursue their passions and fulfill their unique purpose. Learn more at http://kelseyhumphreys.com/. Follow her on twitter @KelseyHumphreys.
An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.