Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Part 1, Birthing Your Book: "Getting Started!"

Wow! I can't believe we're in the 4th Quarter of this year. I must say that Distinctive Female have been the most successful this year than any other year. We are expanding and branding, and challenging both women and men to dig a little deeper in order to go higher. Thank You to all of my faithful readers and supporters who constantly check this blog for updates, who send me topics of interest and write me sharing their experiences. Therefore, I've decided to start catering to the needs of my readers. So if you have a topic you want me to share my thoughts on, please feel free to contact me at distinctivefemale@gmail.com. We're going to start covering a broad range of topics that can help assist you on your purpose walk. How exciting?!

One topic that I have constantly been asked throughout the course of this year was about "Writing and Publishing a Book." Being that I am first time Author and released my book this past June via my website ashleyjoyspeaks.com I most definitely feel qualified to speak in this particular area of interest. It was a journey for me and it would be a journey for you but it's well worth it. I will be breaking up this discussion into two parts. Part 1 will be discussing writing and how to get started, part 2 I would be discussing getting published and finding the perfect editor!

Below is 8 tips to get started!

1) Silence the critic in your head!

  If this is your first time writing a book more than likely you are going to face A LOT of self doubt. You're going to question your qualifications, doubt your writing capabilities, you're going to ask yourself "who would buy my book," and also wonder if your story is worth sharing. I know ALL too well. But the good news is, if God didn't put this on your heart you would not be reading this post. Therefore, you already took the FIRST step to getting started. And despite all of those silly sound-bites and questions, believe that you ARE qualified to get the job done. It all starts with you -- your life, your personality, your interests and your passions.  To articulate that through creative writing is one of the best tools you can ever use. Everyone have a book in them, everyone have a story that have help shape who they are. Whether you decided to share that story through song, storytelling, writing, fashion, acting, etc. Or maybe not through the Arts, but somehow and someway you will share your story. The point is not let that inner critic torment your thoughts, and bully you into thinking your life's story is not significant, especially when writing. Tips below that can be useful to silencing your inner critic:

   ~Just tell that voice to shut up and go away- out loud if it helps!
   ~Do some meditation before getting started. Write down reasons why you want to write a book and  always refer back to those reasons when feeling discouraged.
   ~The best way to combat negative thoughts is with positive thoughts. When it's time for me to write I post words of affirmation on sticky notes around my computer. Try it!
   ~Take death breaths and make sure you have water. That helps with the anxiousness.
   ~Have fun!!

2. What Kind of Writer are You?

Discovering this component will be very, very vital to writing your first book. One of our biggest mistakes in society is believing that everybody do things the same way. We believe that everyone learn the same way, communicate the same, etc. How boring is that?! I've learned NOT everybody can just sit at a computer with a blank page on Microsoft and start writing. Your biggest responsibility as a writer is doing and being comfortable with what works for YOU! So I ask what kind of writer are you?  Here's a few examples of what I mean:

~ Transit Writer (This is Me) I am my most creative when I am on the go. I can be riding in the car, walking through the mall, on a train or bus and instantly a creative cloud comes over me and I just need to write. I carry a journal with me, notepads, ipad, etc. I've writtern chapters of my book on the Bart in San Francisco, not kidding!

~Inspiration Writer- Are you inspired by the things around you? Maybe you go through magazines or sit in coffee shops watching others go by to get your creative juices to flow. Maybe you visit the beach and watch the sunset, or talk to a friend about life. These type of writers are usually great poets and storytellers. They're able to be inspired by life and take that inspiration and bring it to the masses.

~Early in the Morning writer

~Late at Night writer

~Writing with Voice- Usually people who is on the go choose this method. If you are a busy mom, or if you have a lot of responsibilities at work. Try this method. Wherever you are or whenever you have quiet time just pull out your Iphone recorder or go to your local electronics store and purchase a cheap hand recorder and just talk. Transcribe later or even higher someone to transcribe for you!

~Writing on paper- A lot of people choose this method. They would rather write on paper before typing. Just organize properly so you won't get confused with all the paper work. I would suggest getting a tablet for each chapter, it's a lot but it works!

3. Draft, don't edit -yet! 

This was a mistake I made while writing my first book. I spent hours writing and going back and editing, and re-editing. Ultimately defeated the purpose of my editor later. I know, I know if you're like me it's in us to correct things that's not right. But don't spend too much time in this area. Just write! If you get a great editor (I will talk about that in a later post) they would know how to reconstruct your sentences for you. Your responsibility right now getting started is to write, and write more! Worry about the rest later.

4. Writers become writers by writing!

I know you probably heard this a thousand times but writers, write! It's just that simple. Practice makes perfect. A lot of people don't know this but I originally started this blog for practicing purposes. I just wanted to write and I knew blogging would give me a great platform to do just that. Throughout my 3 years of blogging I found my writing "voice." Which ultimately made it easier for me when I started to write my book. Also, if don't know what to practice writing about, below is a picture of a cool book that was gifted to me last for my birthday, or just google "writing prompts" I use to do one every day.

By The San Francisco Wrtiers' Grotto
Introduction By PO Bronson

5. Writers Read!

There's no secret that every great writer is also a great reader. Quick exercise: Go and pick out your three favorite books in your library collection. It can be a different genres, the same genre or whatever you like. Write down three things about each book that captivates you the most. What did the writer do that kept you interested in wanting more chapter, after chapter? When you become a writer, reading will never be the same to you again. Become a student when reading some of your favorite writers, and watch their word play. Take notes and write down the emotions you felt when reading their writings, and how you want your reader to feel those same emotions!

6. Sharpening your skills!

So many people come to me and say "I am not a writer but I want to write a book." If you want to write a book, you would have to learn to love writing. Period. People is going to look at you as a "professional" and "expert" in the field of english and writing whether you like it or not. So not only do you need to practice writing but also perfect your writing and learn as much as you can. When I first was given the vision that I was going to be a writer and author. I went out and brought books on creative writing, I started learning different ways to expand my vocabulary, joined online forums like writetodone.com, which has great articles and tips for writers/authors. Writing for blog, and social media is totally different than writing for publication. It's more formal, but it's also fun. This is your dream so make sure you not only protect it but perfect it. Below is a books that I highly recommend, it's great resources that I often refer back to. The "Creative writing for Dummies" can be purchased Amazon. Tip: If you know someone in college, ask them if they have any old writing, or english books they would like to give to you. My cousin gave me one this summer! 
My Resources!

       7. Discipline and Organization!
Like anything else you have to make time to write, and work through the block. Take breaks and come back if need be.  Discipline takes a lot of effort not only for writing but also to organize your thoughts, chapters, and sequences. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED!  There's many different tools to help with organization. And one tool I purchased online for I believe $29.00 was Scrivener. It's a Mac desktop application that helps you organize your writing, but don't feel obligated to go that route but it was helpful to me when I first got started.

8. Pace Yourself

Last but not least pace yourself. It took me 2 years to release my first book. I kept giving myself these unrealistic goals just so I can have a book published. It's not about having a product and getting recognition, there's so many pointless, horribly written books out today all because people wanted to rush. Find joy in the journey and continue to commune with God in prayer. It's important that He has the leadership in all your current and future project. If you want longevity in being a Author and writer, pace yourself and learn all that you can. Seek wisdom and ask lots of questions. 

I pray these 8 tips can give you better confidence in getting started. No matter where you are right now in your process I pray you find the time to reflect on the purpose and mission of why you desire to become a writer and author. Let me be the first to say CONGRATS on the success of your first book. 

Cheers  to Growing!!!

In Christ,

Ashley Joy

Houston, Texas Meet-Up with My book "Dreams Of Joy!"


  1. Thank you for the writing tips. They are very informative. :-)

  2. Thank you so much sis for all your valuable knowledge & info on this topic! Your so encouraging! :)

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  4. Yay can't wait to birth my book so her and your book can be cousins! Thanks so much for being a light and not coveting your knowledge you are awesome!!!!

  5. You are truly an inspiration to many! Your future is sooooo bright! Keep doing what you're doing because the reward is so great! Oh.... can't wait for the wedding because you're going to be a beautiful bride! Congrats to you!

    1. Awww thank you so much! God is good!

  6. I am a writer myself and have started so many books and haven't finished not one of them. My major in undergrad was journalism but I have self-doubted myself so much that I made myself believe a book I would write, wouldn't be good. I have a lot of supporters though like you do. I'm enjoyed your book and since reading it, you definitely have inspired me to finish one of my books!

  7. This has encouraged me. After two years of having an idea of a book in my head, it's now time to do something about it.