It’s come to our attention here at Frostbeard that just about everyone has wanted to write a book at one point or another. So what are you waiting for? Whether you feel like you have a memoir, a thriller, or an epic fantasy ready to burst out of you, it’s time to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard.
Figuring out how to start writing a book is a tricky task, but we believe in you! You don’t need a fancy, leather-bound journal or an expensive pen to get the ideas out; you just need a willingness to write. That being said, we’ve put together a few items that can jumpstart your creative process, make your writing environment more comfortable, and otherwise put you in the mood to tell a good story. And if you’re not an aspiring writer yourself, you might just find the perfect gift for the writer in your life here!
The Perfect Pen (or Pencil)
Never underestimate the power of a good writing utensil, even if you’re more of a typer. You never know when you’ll be struck by a lush description or an incredible line of dialogue and have to scribble it down on a stray napkin or receipt. Make sure you’re prepared for inspiration to strike with a pen or pencil that can go everywhere with you, whether in a purse, backpack, or pocket. And once you find that perfect tool, you might want to stock up to ensure you always have one on hand.
Writer’s block is a deadly foe that can strike down your burgeoning novel out of the blue. To keep your writing agile and lessen the chances of getting stumped, dedicate a small amount of time each day to a writing prompt. There are plenty of online sources that offer prompts, like Writer’s Digest, or you can head to your local bookstore and pick up a book or journal filled with thought-provoking prompts. This is the perfect chance to experiment and warm up before diving back into your project.
Novel Writing Software
The days of stuffing a sheaf of handwritten pages in an envelope and mailing it off to an editor are long gone. At some point, all of those handwritten words are going to have to make their way onto your computer, whether to be printed off again or emailed out into the world. Or maybe you’ve already decided to type things out from the get-go. Either way, you’ll need reliable word processing software to properly format your manuscript. We’ve heard good things about Scrivener, but a plain old Word document will also do the trick.
A Back-Up Method
We love a good horror story or mystery, but not when it involves lost work! If you’re writing on your computer, you’ve got plenty of options for backing up your lovely prose. Got a Gmail account? Dump everything into a Google doc periodically. Back your entire laptop up to the cloud or to an external hard drive while you’re at it. Maybe you even want to write your whole first draft in a cloud-based program like Evernote so that you can access your writing from your phone or tablet. Whatever you do, just make sure you have a reliable option or two for backing up your work – and always, always hit the “save” button!
Once you’ve got your actual writing materials together, it’s time to think about crafting the perfect atmosphere to get your thoughts churning and the words moving. If the couch or your home office is your writing haven, why not customize that space to your current project? Painting the walls or switching out the furniture might be a little much, but you can easily change the atmosphere in your home with a book themed candle. Channel your ideal mood with a scent based on your favorite book, play some music, and you’re off to the races.
Maybe the background noise of a busy cafe is exactly what you need to sink into the mindset of a novelist. We’d be lying if we said coffee shops aren’t soothing. But say you get yourself all settled at the perfect little table, only for a baby to start crying right behind you, or someone to begin the loudest phone conversation you’ve ever heard. What now? It’s time for noise-cancelling headphones to save the day, of course. Most quality models are fairly pricey, so if they’re not in your budget at the moment, opt for a less expensive, comfortable pair of earbuds to at least mitigate distractions.