Whether you want to start writing a book, a blog, an article or a short story, there are some things that will help you along. So let’s dive into how to start writing.
The tools you need can vary depending on your preferred method and your needs. At the very least you will need pen and paper. However, to make the writing process easier, I would recommend a laptop. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy in any way, you’ll just need the basic.
You will also need a good writing software. I use Microsoft Word and always have. The great thing about Microsoft Word is that it can read the text aloud to you which is one of the best ways to detect errors and it has a dictation feature so you don’t have to actually write yourself but simply say what you want written. There is a mobile version as well, which means that you can install the software on your phone or tablet and access your work on the go.
If you are dyslexic you might want to consider some extra helping tools that can help you with spelling. I don’t have any experience with such tools because I don’t have dyslexia, but I know that there are plenty of software out there.
The actual writing part
I have heard so many times that to become a writer you just have to write… but come on, if it was that simple I’m sure more people would be writers.
First you need an idea of what you want to write, i.e. what genre do you feel comfortable with and do you feel you can come up with a story in that genre.
Once you have a genre in mind you will want to start the writing part. I bet that you already have at least a few sentences in mind that you feel are perfect… WRITE THEM DOWN! If you just have a general idea of what your story will be… WRITE IT DOWN!
Most people find it hard just starting to write, which is why I recommend that you try to map out your story before writing. You don’t need to have an entire story line to do this and it is okay to start the map with a few simple ideas. If you write your ideas down, even though it’s just a few lines you will give your mind the space it needs to create more ideas that can create the story you want to write. I use One Note to map out my stories because it gives me freedom to not only use text, but also drawings, images, videos and links. I can structure it like a brainstorm if I want to, which makes it more manageable to me.
The last software tool I use is an app called A Novel Idea. I use this app to keep track of my characters, plot, locations and so on. It is a great way to summarize everything and get a quick overview of the world and characters you have already created.
The internet is a fantastic invention that you might as well use when writing. It allows you to research everything you can possibly think of.
I am currently writing a book that takes place in New York City. I have newer been in NYC, but thanks to the internet I can research the city enough to create a credible universe for my characters.
Research means that you have to spend more time at the computer, but given that non of us can possibly know everything it pays to research whatever topic you have in mind. Of course our imagination has to do most of the work, but we writers also have to stick to fact from time to time.
Find a beta-reader
You can write and write for days on end and then go over your work several times and think that it is perfect, but unfortunately we can not put our self in other peoples minds and read our own work like it’s the first time we see it. This is where a beta-reader comes in.
You will need someone you trust enough to show your unfinished work to. To me it was very intimate to show my work to someone the first time, which is why it has to be someone you trust. However, trust isn’t enough. It has to be someone who can be completely honest with you and who has good grammatical skills. A person with a good imagination will be a plus as well, if you want the person to give advice to possible changes to your story.
You do not need a beta-reader before you have at least a few chapters down. I didn’t find one til 4 chapters in. If you want too you can have more than one beta-reader, but some might find it confusing and overwhelming with so much feedback, so just start out with one, you can always get more.
Of course not all work requires a beta-reader. You need to be the judge of whether you need a beta-reader or not.
I have tried to cover the basics of writing in this post and I’m sure that other writers has other opinions. The advice I give is based on my experiences and what works for me. You will need to find out what works for you and find your own style, which is something that will only be discovered by actually writing.
Don’t get stuck on technicalities, but try to enjoy the unfolding of your story.