I just did this again tonight, so I thought I would share something that has come in really handy for me.
Whenever people hear that I've written a book, they seem amazed because they think it's hard to come up with enough words to fill a whole book. Naturally, the next question they ask is how to do that. The first thing that tells me is that this particular person doesn't know me very well because...how can I be polite about this? I don't have to, I'm talking about myself...I talk a lot...I mean a lot, A LOT. So when I read that most books were 90,000-120,000 words, it didn't really bother me all that much. 400-500 pages? No problem...I just figured that when people got tired of listening to me, I would go write, which is pretty much what I did (the secret to how I wrote my book at an alarmingly fast rate--editing was another story, but getting the words on the page happened quickly for exactly that reason).
I do understand, though, that not everyone's nickname was "Chatterbox" when they were a kid, so maybe 400 pages won't just fly off of their fingers very easily and that is why I'm posting this.
The process of writing a book begins long before you sit down to write the first page and it doesn't end when you put down the pen for the day or shut down your computer for the night. Not at all. Before I ever put pen to page for my book, I had written down ideas that would happen in the 15th or 20th chapter not even knowing who the characters would be or what the plot was even going to look like. Sometimes I would even just think of a great line that I thought was so cool, I simply had to include it in my book. I didn't know where, but I was going to stick it in there somewhere.
The one thing I can't stress enough is not to dismiss things like that. I wrote down EVERY thought I had like that. Sometimes you end up with things on napkins, the back of receipts, emails sent to yourself from the phone (that you've pulled over to the side of the road to write if you were driving, of course), words scribbled in lip liner on your bathroom counter (sorry Mom and Dad if you're reading this)--really, things end up everywhere and it's a pain in the neck to do it right when the moment strikes you, but it's really worth it. Do it in that exact moment because the thought and exact verbiage will be fleeting. Compile all of those odds and ends and even if you don't know what to do with them now, trust that you will eventually. I used every last word from every single one of my makeshift notepads. I didn't know it when I made them, but all of those little notes ended up becoming mile markers along my journey that I had laid out for myself long before I ever took the first step.
As for filling the rest of the book, I will address that in another post because I ran into the dreaded writer's blocks, too...though I felt like "block" is a bit of an understatement. The Great Wall of China would be a more accurate metaphorical comparison. Either way, it wasn't amazing. So maybe someone will be at the point I was where they are ready to throw their computer out the window and they can read that post for a little stress relief and maybe get some helpful tips :)
The random scribbling that inspired this blog post...that lip liner wasn't my color anyway :)