UPDATE: Our beloved JV partner and author of this post Faye Levow passed away on March 11, 2015. Her final book, OMG! My Parents are Getting OLD! was never fully funded and therefore remains unpublished. See the family’s GoFundMe for details.


One of the reasons people never start their books is because lingering in the back of their minds is an English teacher, armed with the dreaded red pen. UGH! I remember those red pen marks on my papers, whether it was for spelling, grammar, or punctuation, definitely not my favorite thing. I’m sure you can relate.

So you might feel stopped when it comes to writing your book wondering if your work is worthy of the red pen marks. Fear NOT. Your English teacher isn’t here. REJOICE – You have an editor at your disposal! It is your editor’s and proofer’s jobs to set it all straight. No red pen needed.

Next issue is the dreaded outline. Never having been an outline type of person, myself, I totally understand. And as a book-writing coach, I have also realized that most people don’t work well with outlines. The creative process tends to be scattered and messy, very much akin to “chaos theory” in science. Yet, in the end, it all comes together quite nicely.

The problem is that most people really don’t have a clue as to what comes after “Once upon a time…” so they are stopped in the writing process. My answer is always “Start in the middle!” Write what captures your attention at the moment. Write the great sentence or the great paragraph that jumps into your head. The best thing about computers is that you can move stuff around so easily.

If you have a yen to be a bit more organized, I recommend putting together a list of what you want to include in your book. Start with the general subject matter and then get more detailed. List memory joggers for the stories you want to include, the information you intend to convey, and any other ideas you have.

Then you can pick from your list when you sit down to write. Now you never have to worry about writer’s block, either, because you can always look through your list for the next thing to write about. It doesn’t matter what you choose on any given day because you can move things around so easily in a computer-based document.

Now you have no excuses, you know how to begin and you don’t have to be concerned about anyone’s red pen.


Faye Levow was been a freelance writer and editor for over 30 years. She was an author, editor, book writing coach and owner of Launch Pad Publishing.


Photo Credit: Flickr, Henry Burrows

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