Well, in true procrastinator fashion, I haven’t written pretty much anything in a long while. Surprising, I know. I think we’ve all been there and done that and, more annoyingly, read a bazillion hiatus blog posts about that very same issue.
Suffice it to say, I picked up this book called Book in a Month. You guessed it – it’s about how to write a book in one month. Or, if you want to start out at a slower pace, then the book will help you work your way up to writing a book in a month, by helping you to outline things first.
Being the daredevil that I’m totally not, I decided to break against my whiney I’ll-do-it-tomorrow ways and prepare myself to write a book in one month using this as my guide.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
But seriously… I had the good (?) fortune of picking this book up on September 30th. I originally just intended to use it for inspiration and brainstorming for all the books I plan up but never actually write. But then I realized that the next day would be the start of a new month – the ideal, if not downright perfect time to start this so called Book in a Month (BIAM) program. So, without giving myself a chance to make excuses, I decided to do it.
That last night in September, I brought the book home and essentially read the introduction to get a feel for what I needed to prepare myself for. I’m not going to lie, I was seriously excited to finally get my booty moving. That night I tried to narrow down all my stories and which one would be best to work with for 30 days. I finally decided to work on one that wasn’t really flushed out but that I had been wanting to write for a while.
The next day (BIAM: Day One) I told my writing buddy (Haha! More like talking-about-writing buddy.) about my BIAM plan. Surprisingly, she was on board! Noel and I discussed what book I’d be doing and she helped me brainstorm with a few of the issues I was having. One of the most basic being: I had no idea what my plot was – like, at all.
It’s important to note that by the time I got home and actually sat down to do the tasks for Day One, I was a hot mess. And by hot mess, I mean I was panicking. Suddenly everything became too overwhelming. I wanted to write a book in a month and I didn’t have a plot, an Act I, II, or II and I pretty much didn’t know what I was doing. I may or may not have (I totally did) called Noel up and basically sounded like a crazy person trying to brainstorm ideas but we didn’t really get anywhere since my mind wasn’t open to suggestions. Honestly, I more or less just wanted her to tell me what to do and that’s never a good thing.
Eventually, we hung up the phone and, when we did, everything went much better than I thought it would. First of all, I didn’t give up. And that’s a win in my book.
Like a major win.
Secondly, I just sat in my living room for a bit. Trying to make sense of my characters since they were the only things about the story that I actually felt comfortable with. Once I zeroed in on the protagonists, I picked up Book in the Month and started to do the day’s homework assignment. It was super simple: Write a one-sentence summary, map your story ideas for Act I, and figure out your characters.
Writing a one-sentence summary took a few tries but I solidified it after a bit. This is what I ended up with: A cocky Navy SEAL falls for a woman with a secret past and must save her before it’s too late. All in all, I don’t think it’s too shabby and it gave my confidence a major boost that I could at least handle this one task right.
Map your story ideas for Act I was more difficult. Like I said before, I never really had a plot. I knew the book would be a military romance novel but, beyond that, I was pretty much clueless. I’m not lying when I say that the remainder of the night was spent talking to my dog about Act I and whether or not I should be the first author ever to write a book without an Act I. My dog wasn’t amused. Needless to say, brainstorming was painful and fun but mostly scary. But I did it and, even thought I don’t have the book idea 100% cemented, I’m a lot further than I was yesterday.
Figure out the characters was the easiest part. Really, my characters were the only truly inspired idea I had to start with. I had the entire cast of main and subs figured out long before I even started the BIAM program. Narrowing down the “who” part of my book was, by far, the least difficult part of the entire first day process.
So there you have it! BIAM: Day One wasn’t painless, clearly, but I somehow managed to get through it and I feel so good about it. In fact, I’m starting to feel the teeny tiniest bit of confidence sprouting up in my mind but, don’t worry, by the time I sit down tonight to start Day Two’s activities, I know I’m going to be back to feeling hopeless.
Don’t you just love writing?