Bird by Bird author Anne Lamott said it best:

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. What I’ve learned to do when I sit down to work on a shitty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head.

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Writing a book isn’t a linear process. You come up with an idea, you think about it, you change it, it changes you, you think some more, you write, you rewrite, you rethink, you write some more.

If your book isn’t coming together as quickly as you’d hoped, it’s possible you haven’t set it free to lead where you may not want to go.

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Fiction writers know that place can be as important as character. Think:

  • Winterfell
  • Minas Tirith
  • Downton Abbey
  • Gotham City
  • Cabot Cove
  • King’s Landing
  • Hidalgo

For some reason, non-fiction writers tend to focus on events and people. However, place is just as important for those of us who write non-fiction as you fiction gurus.  In fact, every place has a story – and for me, it’s a (non-fiction) story waiting to be told. Those waiting include:

  • Pecos Ruins, New Mexico
  • Grattan Massacre Site (where a cow started a war)
  • Living Room (my local coffee house)
  • Don’s Pharmacy (Port Townsend, WA)
  • Mission San Diego de Alcala (pictured above)
  • The house around the corner with the orange door

What places do you know that have a story waiting to be told?

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