Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Six Things a New Writer Needs to Do

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Recently I was at a writers conference. Usually when I meet with folks their questions are all over the board. However, this time it seemed as if one question quickly claimed the #1 spot as to what everyone wanted to know.

Over and over I heard, “I am really new at this. Where should a beginning writer start?”

I assured them they had taken a great first step by attending the conference and we discussed what they had learned and what other classes they should take. I also made a few suggestions for other writers who might not know where to start following their dream of being a writer.

6 Things a New Writer Needs to Do
  • 1. Write. Even if you are not sure what you want to write, write something. Lynette Eason always says, “You can’t always fix a blank page but if you don’t have any words on the page, you can’t really do anything with that!” So true. Write something—a blog, in your journal, a letter to a friend or your mom. As you begin to write you will get some new ideas as to what direction to take your writing.
  • 2. Come up with a title you love. Titles are not always the first thing you come up with. But sometimes you have a thought or hear a phrase that is just too perfect of a title to let it slide by. Put your title at the top of the page and see where it takes you.
  • 3. Write what you know. That’s always a good piece of writing advice. Where is your greatest area of expertise? What are you passionate about? An essay about the things you love should come easily. Or a novel where the main character is a chemical engineer (just like you!) and you know exactly what her daily schedule looks like and what she does. The opposite of this process is to write about something you are not familiar with. This leaves you with the assignment of tremendous research but perhaps you are the research type.
  • 4. Start with a story, but not necessarily the beginning of the book. You probably have many stories ruminating in your brain. Write one down. Write it the best you can so you are ready to share it with others. It will then be easily incorporated in your story. If you don’t use it now, at least you have a well-written anecdote or full story you can use later.
  • 5. Write a synopsis or a detailed outline. If you are writing nonfiction, you need a good outline. Even if you don’t like to outline, you will find that it worth your time to make an outline. It will serve you well. Once you are ready to write your manuscript you will have a road map and can just follow it to complete the project. For my first nonfiction book, I had a 35-page outline. If you are writing a novel, you will find writing a synopsis will help you flesh out your story. While writing you will see where you need a way to get from point 1 to point 2 and help you close those gaps before you start writing. Most publishers require a synopsis be sent when you pitch your novel so you will have that done when it comes time to pitch your work.
  • 6. From this day on, think of yourself as a “real” writer. When someone you haven’t seen n a long time asks you what you are doing right now, proudly and confidently say to them, “I am a writer.”

These are several helps to get you started. Do you have other questions? Ask them in the comments and we’ll be glad to answer them. Writing is a great occupation but it takes lot of work. Let us help you get started.


Linda Gilden has coauthored 11 books with 5 different coauthors and has #12 and #13 coming out in 2022, adding a new co-author to the list. She loves every one of her coauthors and enjoys collaborating on interesting projects with them. She also has written many books on her own and realizes what a treasure and blessing a good co-author is.

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  1. Wonderful suggestions, Linda. I've been in that seat across from you as a new author and your advice, wisdom, and joy filled smile gave me great encouragement.

  2. Sweet guidance, Linda.