You’ve Got a Book in You is full of tips and tricks to help you complete your masterpiece. There are nice long lists of questions to ask, action steps at the end of each chapter, and repeated reminders to have fun.
I won’t give away all the goods, because you should read this book. But here’s a soundbite to whet your appetite:
“Brainstorming. I don’t like that word. It puts too much emphasis on thinking.“You need to rouse something deeper and more productive to write a good book: You need to engage your heartbrain, that is to say, your whole, deepest self.“Stormwriting is essentially a heartbrainstorm, a process by which you open your heartbrain and provoke it to not merely dump stuff out, but generate new questions and ideas that lead you to more good stuff: The stuff that becomes building blocks for your book. How do you provoke it?
- “Yes, and —” (writing is improv) Whatever you just wrote, keep it going by saying “Yes, and–” whatever comes to mind next. Yes, not no. And, not but.
- “What if —?” Go nuts. Tangents are key to fresh, great material.
- Patterns. Does a certain thing or idea keep popping up? Notice it. Write it.
- Gaps. Is something missing, maybe waiting just below the surface? Tune in and uncover it.
- Emotion. When your gut knots up or your heart starts thumping– follow the feelings.
Sims denies the existence of writer’s block, and when you think about it, why should we believe in it? It’s a lame excuse.
Writer’s block is just you telling yourself “NO” — no, that sentence wasn’t good enough; no, you can’t write about that; no, you shouldn’t feel that way. Stormwriting is about saying “YES.” Yes, this could happen; yes, you can write about that; yes, your feeling is valid; yes, that rabbit is worth chasing. Yes, the writing gets hard! That means you’re onto something. Keep going.
Give writer’s block the finger.
Dufresne (Is Life Like This?) got me up and running on my first draft. I think Sims will help me cross the finish line.
“If you try to keep your whole project in your head at one time, you’ll keep trying to write it all at once, and that’s a recipe for a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Just focus on one small part at a time, and really write the hell out of that part.”