Wednesday’s Words — One Word at a Time

Writing is all about goals. For most of us, the primary goal is to become a published writer, though we all envision that goal differently. Some dream of being the next Stephen King or John Grisham or (insert name here); some dream of making lots of money, and some just want to make a living at it. Except for a very few, the dream of making enough to devote oneself to writing is out of reach, at least for now.

But that is not the only goal. Nor is it the most important. That primary goal beckons, but unless you actually write a book, it is not a goal but a fantasy. So, the next goal is to write a book. (If you have written a book, the goal could be to write another one.) This goal is better than the primary goal, because it is in your hands. You can write a book. But this goal is so general as to be almost worthless.

So, the goal would be to decide what story to write. That goal is easy to achieve. Just think of a character, something that character wants, and who or what is going to keep the character from getting it until the end.

The next goal is to write the book. Now this is more difficult. That empty screen, those blank pages — how do you fill them all? By setting more goals. Decide how many pages you would like to write each day or week or month. That still sounds like too much to get your mind around? Fine. Then decide to write a page, a paragraph, a sentence.

Still too much? Then set your goal to write a single word. I can hear your snort of derision: that’s not much of a goal. But in the end, it is the only goal. How do you think every book all through the ages got written?

One word at a time. That’s all it takes to write a novel.


About the author

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I, all available from Amazon and Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Watch for Light Bringer coming in March, 2011.

»» One Response to “Wednesday’s Words — One Word at a Time” »»
  1. Beth says:

    One word at a time works for me, Pat. One sentence, one thought, one scene. Then you’ve got a chapter. And before you know what’s happened, you’ve finished a third of a book. And if you can write a third of a novel, you can write another third. And of course you can write the end of your story. So there it is. A first draft.

    And all it takes to start is one word.