I often hear from readers that they've sensed a nudge to write. So I asked my dear friend, Margaret Feinberg, a writing muse for many, to create a how-to blog. Here you go!
What to Do If People Keep Telling You to Write Your Story
By Margaret Feinberg
Have you ever had any of the following spoken over you?
"You need to write that down."
"People need to hear your story."
"Whoa! That's too good to keep to yourself."
"You have a gift."
"If you don't write that book no one will."
If you've heard those words echoed in your life, then perhaps you're experiencing a God nudge to write.
So what should you do if people keep telling you to write ...
1. Get organized.
One of the hardest aspects of writing is knowing where to begin and when to end. Rather than jotting random ideas and stories, organize them. Open a document on your computer and divide your thoughts into three categories: Killer stories, big ideas, and specific calls to action.
If you're writing a book on hope, you'll place amazing stories of redemption under killer stories. You'll place big ideas of what hope does in our life - hope heals, hope restores, hope strengthens and more - under big ideas. And you'll place tactics to gain hope like study hope Scriptures, hope on someone else's behalf, give hope away under calls to action.
Once you have 2 pages of each of these filled in, then you can begin looking at how these stories, ideas, and calls to action build on each other and move the book forward. You can create an outline with these elements and enjoy a solid starting point and a strong finish.
2. Start researching.
No matter what your topic, you will enrich your life and your reader's lives through research. Examine your topic from a variety of perspectives - brain science, biblical, historical, brain science, academic, psychological, and scientific studies. This will make your writing and story deeper and richer.
3. Write as a loving gift for your audience.
All good writers tend to write what we know. Often our big ideas and stories are personal - they tie into our experiences, our discoveries, our losses, our pain, our suffering, our triumphs. But readers don't want to read about you - though everyone loves a good a train wreck. They want to read about themselves. They want you to make their life easier, better, more successful. They want you help them experience aha! moments in their faith, relationships, and every day. They want you to love and serve them.
Your first draft will likely be all about you, but your best draft will be mindful your audience.
As you revise your work, look at every story you tell, every lesson you teach, every idea you explore and ask, "How does this love and serve my reader?"
If you sense you're supposed to write, my hunch is that with each passing page, you'll discover the God-instilled message of hope and redemption residing in you, how far you've come, and yes, how far you still need to go. Through words, you'll make the journey for you and those around you more beautiful and brilliant.
Margaret Feinberg has written dozens of books including Fight Back With Joy that have sold more than 1,000,000 copies. She's co-founder of Write Brilliant Academy, an online course designed to walk you through, step-by-step, the process of writing, getting published, and building your platform so you can move from big idea to book in 16 revolutionary videos. Check out her FREE video training: 3 Steps to Jumpstart Your Writing.