Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 19, 2010

Tips on Starting Your Book

I thought I would share an excerpt from Mark David Gerson’s THE VOICE OF THE MUSE about starting your book.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the thought of a couple hundred pages waiting to be filled.  It’s easy to let the size and scope of  a project paralyze you into inaction.  Even as you hold a vision of the completed whole, break you book and its related tasks into manageable chunks. 

Create goals that are so easily achievable they’re impossible not to meet.  If that mean saying you’ll pen fifty words per writing session, that’s fine.  Set the goal and meet it.

It’s important to build up a sense of the possible, to reassure yourself that your book is doable.  As you meet your early goals, begin to stretch them and yourself, always keeping them clearly attainable.

Celebrate every accomplishment and achievement, however tiny.  Avoid setting yourself up for failure.  Each success will breed more confidence, each confidence, more success.  And before you know it, your book will be done.

All it takes to write a book is to start, surrendering to one word after the next until your’ done.  Many gooks and teachers insist that you know what you’re writing about before you start, I say, just start.  Your book knows the way.  Let it guide you.  Remember, no book can be birthed unless you first face a blank page or screen.

Relax.  It’s only your first draft.  You will have plenty of time in subsequent drafts to correct spelling, punctuation and grammar, to polish and hone, to do more research, to craft and to organize.  Now is the time to surrender, to get the essence of your story onto the page.

There is also a Audio CD The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers by Mark David Gerson 

If anyone has used it, we’d love to know your thoughts.



  1. Exactly. As Dory was so fond of singing. “Just keep writing! Just keep writing! What do we do? We write, write, write….


    • Definitely words to remember. I looked at your website. Are you a graphic novelists? We’d love to hear something about that topic. Do you think you would have anything to share? You could e-mail me.



  2. Thanks so much, Kathy, for posting this excerpt from my book. It’s so important to take the overwhelm out of the creative process.

    I’d just like to add that your readers can find an additional excerpt from the book and a complete audio meditation from The Voice of the Muse Companion CD on my web site, You can also use Amazon’s “search the book feature” to browse randomly through the book; you can also use Amazon’s audio-sample feature on its Voice of the Muse Companion page to hear brief clips from all the CD’s tracks.

    Both the book and the CD are, of course, available from my site (where I’m happy to sign copies) and from Amazon.

    Again, thanks!


    • Mark,

      My pleasure! As soon as I have time I will listen to some of the excerpts on the Audio CD. It sounds like something I might like to include in my library.

      Like your blog,



  3. Good timing as always Kathy.
    (How do you do that?!)



    • Mimi,

      I thought of you when I put up this post. It sounded like the perfect book for you. I see you with a muse.



  4. Incentive for YA/MG writers to make a start? ‘Novel openings’ blog competition run by Literary Agent Mary Cole:

    Closes Jan 31st.


    • Ali,

      Thanks for the reminder. I posted about that competition on January 11th. I hope some people follow throiugh and submit something.



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