I want to write a book. How do I start?

Just start! Maybe in Scrivener. 😉 But you’ll probably quickly develop many questions about how to get better at it, and the business side of things, and why you stare at the wall so much. (Or is that just me?) I recommend finding a local or online writing group, or attending a regional or national conference. There’s nothing like finding other people who stare at the wall, hear or see characters, and get story ideas in the weirdest places. There are dozens of genre-specific and general writing groups out there. Try a web search or your local library. Read in your genre, read books on writing, check out writing magazines and websites like WriterUnboxed.com. But most of all, write.

How often do you publish a book?

LOLOL. I wish I could say I’m super consistent and promise a book every 4-6 months, but it’s never been that straightforward for me. Usually, it’s about once a year or so, but the early 2020s have been, um, harder. If you want to know when I have a new book out, the best thing to do is subscribe to my newsletter. Not only will you be informed of new releases, but you’ll get an occasional short story or free ebook.

How did you start writing?

I’m guessing it’s due to the unquenchable reading habit I had even as a kid, but I’ve enjoyed writing since middle school, and always wanted to write a book “someday.” I used to email myself ideas and snippets of setting or dialogue when struck by inspiration at my day job as a programmer/manufacturing engineer, but didn’t feel like I had time to devote to writing.

It wasn’t until I was lucky enough to be able to quit my day job to be more available to my (then school-aged) kids that I found myself with enough time to pursue writing. Even then, it took me another year before I realized the stories in my head were romances. I haven’t stopped writing since.

Where do you get your ideas?

I wish I knew! Seriously. But they are often triggered by a situation or event I encounter in person, or sometimes by a news story, TV show, movie, or book that gets me asking “What if…?” And then when I try to write that what if, I don’t like it and it completely morphs into something else, but that spark was necessary to get me started, so… *throws up hands* Writers are weird. (Or if it’s just me, don’t tell me.)

What’s your process?

Much to my Fodismay given how much of a planner I am in the rest of my life, I cannot plot a book to save my life. Well, I can, but when I start to write it, everything will change, and plotting in advance only slows me down, so I’ve finally committed to stop doing it. This blog post talks in much more detail about being a pantser/discovery writer/seat-of-the-pants writer.

Is it only for plotters?

No! Scrivener flexes to work for your process, whatever that is. I’m not a plotter (at all), and I can’t imagine writing without it. Scrivener helps me visualize the structure of my story as it grows, find exactly the scene I want to work on, easily move things around, store old words, keep track of ideas for future scenes or snippets of scenes, and so much more. Of course, it’s also great for plotters, who can use the Corkboard to build a storyboard, or lay out the structure of their book in advance.