Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bramkamp: Writing as a Beginner

Catharine Bramkamp

Guest Post: Start your writers' conference learning now with a series of guest blog posts from some of the conference faculty. This guest post comes from Catharine Bramkamp, author of 15 books, co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast that focuses on newer writers and their concerns, dynamic writing coach and Chief Storytelling Officer for Winesecrets


“Each moment is a place you’ve never been.”
 – Mark Strand

Are you a beginner?  Good.  We all are.

You’ve no doubt read countless sincere articles about beginner’s mind, the whole zen profound thoughts on beginning and starting fresh.

It doesn’t need to be that hard.

It’s just about starting - and more important, not over analyzing the project before you even start.

Beginners are curious. Beginners ask, What if?

Beginners block out that pernicious quote:  If I knew what I was getting into, I would never had started.  Start.

Start the story of your aunt like Julia Park Tracey did.  Finish with a best selling series. Start your story of your mother, like Linda Joy Meyers did. Finish as the head of the  Memoir Writers Association.  Start by recording  the crazy character who keeps talking in your head.

Beginner’s mind is another way of saying, get started. 

You probably have read countless articles on starting - how to start an exercise program, how to start a successful diet, how to start a family.  Starting a novel is much like starting a family.  You do not give birth to a five year old. You give birth to a baby with, if you’re lucky, a small head.

 Writing is just like that.  You start small. You begin small.

Here is how: 
Don’t start by working on a big novel, all day.  Don’t even start writing for an hour.
Write on anything at all for 10 minutes.

Now  stop and walk away. (You know, I tried pushing out that last baby for ten minutes and then volunteered to quit and just walk away.  Obstetric nurses don’t have much of a sense of humor).

If  it’s not a baby, you can return to your project the next day feeling rather refreshed. Feed that beginning effort with more words.  Don’t rewrite, just add.  In a few months you’ll have a  respectful number of words that, once organized and edited, may reveal a theme and plot.

But small, start small.  Because trying to give birth to a fully formed novel in one go, is very painful indeed.


To learn more.
Visit us on iTunes  - Newbie Writers Podcast
Check out our upcoming book Don’t Write Like We Talk that will be published eventually.  All you need to do is wait . . . like us.
Subscribe to the blog on www.YourBookStartsHere.com
Or just follow me on Newbie Writers Group on Facebook
Or Instagram -  #CatharineBramkampWriter
Or Pinterest -  Catharine Bramkamp
The theme is, Catharine Bramkamp, thank god there is only one of me.

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