I say over and over about how beginning, and even experienced, writers can get bogged down by the idea that a "real" writer lets the words flow, a beautiful, uninterrupted, constant flow of words.
We all get stuck. The flow stops. And if we don't have the experience of writing several books under our belts, just the thought of trying to get started overwhelms us. It's a bit like that saying, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." When we think of an entire, unwritten book ahead of us, we're almost paralyzed by the idea of starting. "How in the heck can I write an entire book?
One step at a time, or perhaps 10.
1.) Do as much research and brainstorming ahead of time that you can. Fill up the pantry, and you’ll find plenty of ingredients to cook a meal with. It does count as writing. It's gathering details, descriptions, stories, illustrations, statistics -- all the things you'll use to build your book.
2.) Honor each part of the writing process. When you’re creating, create; don’t try to edit at the same time. I've talked about this before, ad nauseum for some of you, I'm sure. You don't just sit down and write the whole thing in one sitting. There's creating, writing, revision, editing, more creating, more writing, more revision. And each of those stages is its own. Respect that.
3.) Write on a regular basis (at least 3 or 4 times a week). You get into a rhythm, and the writing flows. You don't want to spend time figuring out where you were the last time you sat down and wrote a week (or two, or three) ago. The best thing about this is that you build momentum with regular activity.
4.) Just write. Don't worry about making it perfect. Perfect can come in the editing and revision phase. Right now, you just want to get your ideas down and start putting them in some sort of order and structure. If you try to make it perfect from the get-go, you'll be frustrated.
5.) Tell your inner critic to shut up. He’s never going to be objective, and his main goal is to keep you right where you are -- with no book. Find ways to shut him up: tell him to go to Cleveland (as long as you don't live there), promise him he can come back later, thank him for his thoughts and tell him you're going in a different direction.
6.) There are very few brand-new ideas (even Post-It® notes were based on paper and tape). They're just presented in a different way. Find out what differentiates your message and what makes it uniquely you. It may be that your target market will get your message when they couldn't get it from someone else - because of the way you, and only you, have presented it.