When you decide to go on a trip, I imagine that you ask yourself a certain number of questions: the choice of destination, the kind of stay you want (lazing on the beach, meeting with locals, visiting monuments …), means of transport (plane, train, car, bicycle…), etc. The same goes for writing work.
Writing a life story is a process that resembles a journey, certainly a journey through time. But a journey all the same!
However, probably too eager to move on to writing, few of us ask the right questions. Those that will increase our chances of going through with our project. So, before handling the keyboard or the pencil, let’s take the time to ask ourselves a few moments to take stock, the head in the hands, and think. I assure you that it is worth it … It will not be a waste of time, on the contrary!
An important question if any, because it concerns the destination of your trip. Often, we are enthusiastic about the idea of writing, of telling our story, but that remains very vague.
Are we going to talk about his childhood? Of his parents? Of his children? Of his profession? Are we going to ignore this or that period of our life? What part of his journey will we focus on? Not asking yourself this question and especially not answering it is like going on a trip to an approximate destination. It’s the best way to never happen.
In other words, it is important to delimit your subject at least in outline. It is a preliminary and essential operation to establish a plan which holds the road for the construction of your story.
Find out what makes you write. Do you want to send a message? Did you want to help others by testifying? Do you want to lighten your weight? Maybe it is all of these things or many other things…
Our motivations are not always clear, they sometimes remain very vague. And yet they are important for successfully leading a writing project. Clarifying them will help you stay on track.
On the path that leads to writing a story, whenever you go through a period of discouragement or doubt. Remember the reason that prompted you to write, remember your goal.
Your motivation will be similar to the favorable wind blowing in the sail and driving the boat forward.
The general public or my immediate entourage? This is important since you will not write the same thing, at least you will not express yourself, in the same way, depending on whether you write for your children or for the unknown reader who will buy your book in a bookstore.
By hand, with a pen and white paper, or using a keyboard on a computer screen? If the paper seems softer than the screen, more pleasant to the touch. If you like the convolutions of the tip of a pen, then do not hesitate. Just know, unless you keep your manuscript forever in the secret of a drawer, you will be forced to type your text on the computer to have it printed or presented to an editor.
It is true that writing with the help of a computer has indisputable advantages: no more rough paper rolled into a ball on your desk, no more torn pages furiously, a single click, and everything becomes clear and clean again … Automatic deletion without smudges of all that goes wrong, moving paragraphs, in short, that time saved. Yes, it’s a great computer, but beware: it is better to be already familiar with word processing, otherwise learning will take you forever.
Morning, noon, or evening? Week or weekend? Each person at his own pace. Of course, everything will depend on your availability. It is obvious that a single person will have more time to write than a mother surrounded by young children. It will also depend on your biological clock.
Some people will find their inspiration in the presence of the moon while others will be more inspired when the sun begins to appear on the horizon. No matter which time you choose, one thing is certain, you will need to write regularly and if possible at the same time.
At the risk of displeasing you, I dare to say that writing is a real discipline, not military, but almost. The important thing is to set yourself a target in terms of frequency: once, twice or three times a week, whatever, as long as you stick to it.
You can always revise your ambitions upwards or downwards if you see that you can’t do it or … that you do it too well! It is important to make a regular appointment with your work table, an appointment that you will have to respect because we quickly put off our writing to the next day, and finally we never see the end of it. So what a terrible frustration!
In other words, in what setting, in what atmosphere would you feel most comfortable running your pen or your computer mouse? Some people need to feel like moving around them, for example writing in a cafe, which has been my case for a long time.
I loved hearing the sound of spoons and the shock of porcelain cups. As well as the purring of conversations around me; find out why it inspired me! I even had a friend who was going to sit down in the hall of a station when going on vacation, a pad, and a pen in hand. He told me that it was in this sonic hell that inspiration came to him most easily.
Other people will prefer to lock themselves in a room far from any noise, not to say of any civilization. A friend told me that the simple fact of knowing that a family member was in the house could block her writing.
As for you who read me, if you are not used to writing, I recommend a quiet place, perhaps not a monastery. But especially not a room of the lost in a station. You will need to meditate and focus to take your first steps in writing.