I talk to people everyday, on blogs, on Face Book, in tweets and face to face about writing.
The questions are usually along the same lines. How did I get started? Where do I get my ideas? How do I find the time to write and hold down a full time job? Do I edit my own books? Do I have an agent and do I want one? Is it really fun or a drudge.
All good questions. But what they are really looking for is where did I get the motivation to just do it? They are looking for that spark that will motivate them to finally start their own journey. They want to know how to get off the starting block and start running.
My best advice comes from a special friend of mine from a long time ago. In the late 70's, I worked in a small startup company in Colorado where I was fortunate enough to meet George S. Lehsten, an inventor from England. George was doing amazingly cool things with electricity, electronics, power management and the coolest of all, sonar based on dolphin echo location.
Among his many achievements, George invented a version of the eight track tape player/recorder, quadraphonic and multi channel audio systems, tracer bullets during WWII and a slew of other inventions by himself and with others.
George was an amazing man and friend. I was a basically an intern, fresh out of 9 years in the US Nuclear Sub force. The only real electronics training I had was completing a Health Kit (yes HK) course where in the end I built my own 25 inch color TV.
I loved tinkering with electronic and computers and George knew it. He encouraged me daily, showing me white papers, getting me hooked on Dr. Dobb's magazines and asking me my opinion on projects he was working on, even though they were all over my head at first.
George took me under his wing on many occasions when I was frustrated with my lack of on the job experience with electronics and the fledgling field of 8-bit micro-controllers. George was patient, kind and full of positive energy.
On more than one occasion, George would take me on a walk at lunch, talking about the problems of the day and how we, not he or me, but we, could solve them. At the end of those walks, George would look me in the eye and say 'just do it'. Don't hesitate, don't worry about the outcome, don't stop to over analyze what could happen. Just Do It.
It's a simple, very positive tool that you should use every time you're stuck or unsure how to proceed. Say it out loud. Settle down, address the problem realistically and then just do it.
You want to write a book?
Just Do It.
Don't wait for an agent. Don't wait until you have the entire plot worked out. Don't expect it to perfect. Don't worry about the criticism you'll get every step of the way. Don't worry if it will sell. Don't worry if it's the 'right' story.
Do write every day. Do keep a note book or tablet with you at all times, and use it EVERY time you get an idea, no matter how small. Do keep a pad by your bed stand and DO write down that cool idea or dialogue, because you will NOT remember it the next day. Do write as long as the ideas are flowing, you can prune later.
Just Do It.
Start right now.