Writing involves a lot of orderly thinking and organization, and it can seem like a daunting task to produce writing that flows. When I timidly began my first children’s book (I had no training whatsoever), I used 3 x 5 cards to write down scenes or ideas I wanted to incorporate into my book, and spread them out on the kitchen table. Then I rearranged them as I added other ideas in an orderly sequence of events. I now do this on a computer, but that was how I chose to begin writing because the computer kind of intimidated me at first.
At the computer, I keep college-ruled notebooks handy: one for blog articles and poetry, and another one for WestBow Press, and one for each book I write. This is useful for writing down pertinent information, and kind of an outline of what I want to include in the book or blog article. You may want to use different colors of ink to break up eye monotony and distinguish between ideas.
When I wrote my children’s books, I used my imagination to ask, “What could/would/should happen next?” I kept, and still keep, several notebooks at my computer to write some notes and ideas long-hand. There’s something to be said, I think, for allowing the brain to transfer thoughts to flow through your hand and fingers, through a pencil, and onto paper, shaping the letters yourself. When I typed it out on the computer, I used the copy and paste method to transfer paragraphs if necessary, rearranged the story line several times, and kept at it until I completed it to my satisfaction. I do the same thing when I write a blog piece or a long, detailed e-mail.
Speaking of e-mails, they are a good place to practice your sentence structure, spelling, and grammar. Yes, writer’s do need to learn all of those, but when the creative juices are flowing, don’t stop to correct anything. Just write with passion. Lay it out there, line after line. You can always edit your work later.
Keep a notepad and pencil beside your bed, or on your person when out and about. Ideas may come to you when you least expect them, and unless you write them down, you’ll lose them. Sometimes I even grab a sticky note at my desk or when I’m cooking or baking in the kitchen, and scribble thoughts that come to me. Inspired ideas are priceless!
Some writers keep file folders of news clippings, magazine articles, or personal notes for each subject that interests them. Then, when they want to write on a specific subject, they draw ideas from that file. I’ve never done that, but I do have a filing system for stories which include research, marketing and sales ideas. For example, when I wrote “Biff and Becka’s Stupendous Vacation,” I did a lot of research, including Splashdown Water Park, Manassas Airport and aviation, baseball teams, Dulles Air and Space Museum, and Sully Plantation (which I also visited in person).