Janine Bolon podcast - 5 steps to writing. The Writers Hour - Creative Conversations

Janine Bolon – 5 Steps to Writing11 min read

Janine Bolon: Welcome to today’s show everyone, I am Janine Bolon. Today, we are going to talk about the five major lessons I have learned over the last fifteen years of my writing. With that, I want to let you know that I went through many life transformations and different phases of my life, but now I am standing here as the author of nine books and four different newsletters or blogs.

Janine: I am constantly writing and now, I can officially call myself a professional writer because I get paid to do what I do. So, there you go. There is a lot of transformation that happens when you decide that it is time for you to write and I want to talk about some of the major pieces of advice that are out there, and the ways that you can use them in your own life to deal with your own situations.

Janine: First of all, make the decision to start calling yourself a writer. When people say, “Oh, what do you do?” You can say whatever your occupation happens to be, but also start including “–And I am a writer.” People are going to find that intriguing. A lot of people say that they are going to write their story or write their book, and they never do. We want you to become the person that actually does write their story. Whatever that is, and however it works for you.

Janine: So the first piece of advice that I was given is that you have to write every day. I understand that for some writers, it is almost a session or a compulsion that they feel like unless they write every day, they are not really doing what they need to be doing.

Janine: For me, I found that I did not have to write every day, but I did have to write and so I set up a schedule for myself and I would sit there for an hour and whether I typed anything at all is not the point. I would sit and get ready to write, or I would write.

Janine: Now, I am going to go on about the tip that flows beautifully with the next tip, which is stream of consciousness writing. When I had an idea about the book I wanted to write, I was very clear on what I wanted to share with the people that were going to read it, but my challenge was that I really did not know anything about writing in general. I have always actually been told I was a bad writer. I had learned English three different ways and when I got back to the United States because my dad was in the military, I realized that I wrote mainly The King’s English or technically now, the Queen’s English and so I had a lot of incorrect spelling and it was so atrocious that I never dreamed I would ever become a professional writer, to be quite honest.

Janine: One of the tools that I used was stream of consciousness writing wherein for an hour, I would sit there and just type. I would force myself to write garbage and one of the things that came out of that is my stream of consciousness writing was not journaling, as some people say that journaling is when you talk about your day, blah, blah, blah. For some writers, that is very helpful. For me, I have to get a lot of stuff out of my head so I would sit and there were times when I had three pages of stuff that was like, “This is stupid, I should never be a writer. No one is ever going to read what I write. This is awful, I cannot believe I am sitting here doing this. This is agony. Why am I putting myself through this?”

Janine: What was interesting was that when I would pause with my hands on the keys, then answers would come. There is somebody out there that needs to read what you are writing and it is going to inspire them to create in their own way. Someone needs the lessons that you have learned from this, there are people who need what you have to write.

Janine: And so I would combat that with, “Yes, but you know, why would anybody want to do that with me? There are other people that have written.” At that time, I was writing about money and there are plenty of books about money out there, I assure you. I was just overwhelmed and it is a good thing I did not have Instagram yet. Instagram has not yet been created at that time, and if I had one, I would have caught myself scrolling and looking at everybody else’s content. I never would have gotten a hit on my own, right?

Janine: One of the things I want to share with you is how to get ahead of all that. Do not pay attention to what other people are doing and realize that what you have to share and what you have to create with the world, you have an audience waiting for you to do that. And that was actually what helped me.

Janine: The thing about writing every day is to set up a schedule as to when you will write. Now, I would write from Monday through Friday and then I take Saturday and Sunday off, but you know what? I usually get ideas during that time. So the point is to set up a schedule for yourself and then stick to it and if you have difficulty sticking to your schedule, then join a group where they have a schedule and you can write with that group. I will talk about that in a bit.

Janine: Okay, so that was item one and item two that have kind of merged together. When you are writing every day, just do the stream of consciousness writing so that you get answers to your own questions. It is funny how you will answer yourself and you will start to find that there is an arena or an area that you want to write in.

Janine: Step three is to drop the head trash. I have already talked a little bit about this, but let us go into this further. There are a lot of fears and self-analysis that happens when you decide that you are going to need to publish your work. Every single artist, creative, sculptor, musician, writer– I do not care what it is– If you are creating something that is of your own and you have not plagiarized off of anybody, you may have used people for inspiration or reference, but you have really created it with your own hands, your own dots, and with your own voice.

Janine: When you are in the process of creating, there is head trash. Every artist knows about this. This is why writers hang with writers and musicians hang with musicians. We understand the internal battle every single one of us goes through because, in order to get to the point where you are not just creating for yourself but you are actually creating for others, there is a lot of things that you have to get through. There is a lot of self-imposed fear.

Janine: With that, how do you go about dropping the head trash? It really is the focus of moving into step four, which is to focus on the reader, the person who needs what you have to offer. Everyone on this planet has a story, but only three percent share it. I know you would never believe that with the sheer volume of books that are being published everyday, but I assure you, those books would not be published if there were no eager people to read them.

Janine: I want to let you know how imperative it is that you share your story. If you have no idea what to write about but you know you are supposed to write a book and you feel a compulsion to write– if you have ever heard that or felt that, please do it. There is somebody out there in the world, and I will assume there are thousands of somebody’s because we have almost eight billion people on the planet now. I assure you, if you are writing, there are very engaging readers that want what you have but cannot find it. You need to build what it is that you feel, that compulsion to build that story that you have inside.

Janine: There are life lessons you have learned and you have a very unique perspective and some people are like, “Yeah, but everybody has a unique perspective.” Yeah, but nobody is going to write it your way. It is imperative that you do that for yourself.

Janine: The last tip that I want you to know is to decide to publish your work. Now, the reason why I encourage you to publish your work is that you can decide, “Yes, I am going to write.” You can even have the habit of writing every day, the habit of building your book. But until you give yourself a deadline and a target– I like to call them goals or targets instead of deadlines– if you give yourself a target of when to complete it then you join a group where you say that out loud and they encourage you into getting to it, then it will help you very much.

Janine: Those are the five steps to becoming the writer that you have always dreamed about. You write every day but that does not necessarily mean seven days a week, it means you are focused on doing something with writing every day. I physically write five days a week, which does not include e-mail, by the way, some people try to cheat with that. What you do is you set a schedule and then on the days of the week where you are not physically writing, you are working on improving your craft. You are either reading or learning software to help you get better at your writing.

Janine: The second thing is with your stream of consciousness writing, just write. It does not matter what you are writing, put garbage on the paper. Just make sure that you do that garbage for an hour.

Janine: The third thing is to drop the head trash. It does not matter what type of obstacles are in your head, the thing is that they are excuses. Anytime you have a fear, anytime that anything tries to block you from your goal to be a writer, you must realize that you are finding an excuse and you are not finding a way. That is what I always focus on, you find a way around it, “I am going to find a way,” but you do not know how to… and then fill in the blank and you are like no, I am going to find a way.

Janine: So fourth is to focus on that reader. There is somebody out there in that world that needs what you have to write and fifth, decide to publish your work. When you decide to start your blog, newsletter, or build that book and publish it, that is when it gets real. I encourage you to join a group. I happen to have a group and what we do is we meet twice a month and for thirty seven dollars a month, we will help you write your book in a year. It is called ‘A Book A Year’ program, that is the one I am on.

Janine: I have been writing a book a year and what has ended up happening is now, I am writing two books a year and there are some years where I have written four books in a year. I wanted to share with you that when you start letting go of all that head trash that was floating around, you will be able to make it.

Janine: Go ahead and join my website, we would love to have you there. You can go to JanineBolon.com/bookayear– just smash it all together, bookayear– and you will see how you can join the little writer’s group that I have that will encourage you to get your book done in a year. All right. Talk to you soon, have a great day, and go back to that writing.