From Brainstorming to Writing: The Tutorial

By Ann Livi Andrews

So you’re ready to start work on your next writing project. 

Congratulations! The beginning is always one of my favorite times. The idea is still fresh, still exciting, and still full of potential. Your mind is probably racing with plot points, character development, and the various conclusions that you could lead your readers to. 

So, let me ask you this: what do you do first? 

There are organized authors, who immediately open up a Word Doc, Word Perfect Doc, Google Doc, Scrivener Doc, or even a Ulysses Doc (just to name a few) and immediately jot down a rough outline of where they’d like the plot to go. It might look a little something like this:

Or, you might put together some sort of brainstorming bubble, a semi organized/semi chaotic way to get all of your ideas that are shuffling around in your head onto paper. That could look like this: 

Or maybe you just start writing. Maybe the words have already been forming into sentences as you’ve been pondering this latest work. Maybe you get three chapters written before you even realized what you’ve done. We all know what that looks like, no need for an example. 

Or maybe you take the Ann Livi approach and you simply stare at the blank sheet of paper for what seems like an eternity, then you give up, browse Pinterest for a while, answer a few emails, read someone else’s book and review it, patrol the SIA forum for a while, possibly make a few changes to the website, and then write a sentence. That ends up looking like this:

The point of all of this is that I could go on and on. Each and every author is going to have a different method that they rely on to start their work. There are some courses out there (I won’t name names, but I can tell you they probably range from $99.99 to $299.99) that will tell you “sure-fire methods” of making sure you’re writing a book a month, or every two months, enabling you to become the next Best Selling Kindle Author! 

But I say do what works for YOU. Be the author YOU want to be. Not the author that someone else tells you to be. In this day and age, the chances of becoming a best selling author and living off of your written word, well, it’s a slim chance. It can be done - if you’re working very diligently and are amazing at maintaining a balanced budget. 

Be an author because you want to be an author. Write for yourself. That will keep it fun and will help feed your passion for it. And believe me, that shows in your work. 

So keep that chaotic brainstorming bubble. Write an entire chapter just because you want to see what would happen if your character chose Path E instead of your preferred Path A or B - even if you don’t intend to keep it in the book. 

Use the methods that make you happy and keep the words flowing. There’s no wrong way - I promise you. 

Just write. 

Cheers to a Happy and Writing Filled 2017
Ann Livi Andrews