Popular YouTuber (and now new author), Mamrie Hart, recently spoke with Co.Create about five things she learned about writing on her journey to publishing her first book based off her YouTube channel- You Deserve A Drink (also the title of her book. Mamrie, and the article itself, were refreshing and honest. Mamrie appears as a normal, everyday woman who happened to create something that stuck and actually became quite popular, perhaps beyond what she ever envisioned herself. With her new found success she had to figure out how to navigate it’s many challenges, one being how to write a book. I think we can all relate to her advice due to her light-hearted and down-to-earth personality. She paints the writing process in a humorous and realistic light.
Here are her “5 Keys To Writing A Book” summarized:
- Figure Out What To Write
Not only do you need to figure out what you want to write about, but you also need to have several other “sub-ideas” for every idea you have to make it a viable and enjoyable topic worth writing about. Mamrie suggests making a list of all your ideas you have to include in your book, then picking ones that are worthy enough to be published and that you can actually write a decent amount about. The order of chapters, and what to put where, is also challenging. You need to find what works for your story/book. Chronological isn’t always the way to go- it wasn’t for Mamrie. Also, it is important to write down all your ideas, because a not so important idea at first might become an important idea later.
- Figuring Out What Not To Write
This is where all my editing posts will come in handy. Mamrie mentions that “half of writing is rewriting.” One of the hardest things to do is to decide what not to include in your book, especially if you are emotionally attached to it. This is where having an editor (or a trusted friend) is extremely helpful. They will be able to tell you more easily and honestly that they really didn’t need a certain paragraph, section, or chapter. Get rid of all the distracting material so you can enhance the necessities.
3.Figuring Out When (and Where) To Write
You need to create a writing schedule that works for you and gets the most out of your writing. You need to find out what the important factors for your writing process are. For Mamrie, she found out that is was more about the location than the time of day. She located an office outside her home that was solely for the purpose of writing and even went on writing “retreats,” where she knew most (if not all) of her time would be devoted to writing. Removing herself from her natural habitat was what made her writing successful, maybe its the same thing for you or maybe timing is a more prevalent factor. Play around with it.
- Figuring Out How To Write
You learn a lot about your communication skills and speaking habits when you write. You might notice that you overuse a certain word or phrase. These habits are much more noticeable in writing so make sure you pay attention to them. You want your writing to be accessible to everyone. When you find your overused word or phrase (I know you will because we all have one) try out Mark Twain’s method I wrote about in another post.
- Figuring Out How To Keep Writing
Every writer hits that inevitable “writer’s block” when you just don’t know if you can continue on anymore. You need to find a way to break that block down and smash it into a million pieces. Mamrie creates weekly “To-Do Lists” to keep her on track on her goals. It gives her something to work towards and once she reaches those goals, she isn’t afraid to reward herself. The rewards gives her some time to clear her mind before she conquers her next list and also inspires her to complete her next set of goals because she wants that reward again. Mamrie also suggests doing small activities when you are really in a rut such as going for a walk/run or watching a funny movie.
Writing is not easy, but that does not mean we should be discouraged. We just need to find ways around the obstacle course of our next book. Write on.