Start Writing Your Book In 7 Mornings With 7 Cups of Tea
By Thea Fiore-Bloom, Ph.D.
Want to start writing your book this year?
Wonderful but terrifying, right?
Studies say 80% of humans dream of writing a book. But only about 10 % of those millions upon millions of wanna-be writers will ever get beyond the first page.
So what can you do to start and blast through that first-page roadblock that crushes so many dreams?
Well, if you’re an artist I know how you shouldn’t start.
If you’re a visual thinker like me, you’d rather chew glass than begin by coming up with a very serious, very linear, very logical 50 point outline you got from some book on writing.
Doesn’t sound real appealing, huh?
When we creatives try to cram, mash, and mangle our circular selves into linear molds most of us bale before you can say “Excel Spreadsheet.”
Is there a better way to go for imaginative types? I think so.
It’s something I invented out of pure desperation to help me start writing my own book.
And I’ve found that it works well for the artists I coach who are writing theirs.
I call it my Tea Method.
My Tea Method: How Artists Can Painlessly Start Writing Their Book in One Week
When I coach artists in the early stages of their book I often suggest they journal on seven specific questions loosely based on what they need to include in a book proposal.
The answers to these questions will grant you a big picture view of where you want to go and why. The aerial view you are about to gift yourself with, will help you leap over that page one hurtle and carry on with gusto.
I suggest you make the process painless, even fun, by spreading the seven questions over a week of early morning or late night mini-journaling sessions.
And what could be a better companion for a 20-30 minute deep dive into one’s soul than a steaming cup of tea?
3 Reasons To Let Tea Help You Start Writing Your Book
1. First, science has shown that tea increases mental power and creativity.
2. Second, tea is a ritual. Rituals help us begin sacred work. Books are sacred work.
Tea also helps us relax, overcome fear and muse. (I talk about how tea specifically helps artists in this post here.)
3. Third, tea stimulates our senses. And stimulated senses give us great ideas.
So, are you up for this madness?
Great. Then let’s discover your seven questions and your seven teas.
The 7 Cups and 7 Questions That Will Help You Start Writing Your Book
1st Cup, 1st Question – What’s My Book’s Deep Purpose?
Tea Suggestion for Writers: Make a steamy cup of cinnamon, ginger, chai or tulsi tea (holy basil) from India; these are teas known to promote emotional courage and enhance brain function.
Quietly sit down with your tea and journal for 20-30 minutes on what you think is the true purpose of your book.
Why do you feel a need to write it and how will it benefit a reader, a community or the world at large?
Journal about how your book could transform an aspect of the life of a reader.
This tea session on your Why will leave you in a perfect position to embrace the next day’s cup on your Who.
2nd Cup, 2nd Question – Who Is My Book’s True Audience?
Tea Suggestion for Writers: Brew a cup of tea that supports empathy like calming chamomile, restorative ashwagandha, or a peaceful white tea like Yin Zhen silver needle.
Now ask yourself, ‘Who is the ideal reader for my book?’
Maybe name and doodle out three imaginary characters (aka avatars.) Your reader-avatars may be loosely based on friends, clients or students of yours you think would be your ideal readers.
Does your reader live in a cabin, condo or yurt? What inspires them? Where do they work, how do they dress, what music do they live for?
And how will your book help them with their specific life challenges?
Now that you have an idea who you’ll be talking to let’s look at the genre you will be using to best get your important message across.
3rd Question, 3rd Cup – What’s My Book’s Genre?
Tea Suggestion for Writers: For this, you’ll need a cup of something to quell procrastination and stimulate the imagination like lemongrass or linden tea (made famous by Proust). Or go for a green tea like sencha or dragonwell.
It’s time to explore your book’s genre or format.
Sip a bit and write about whether this book is to be a memoir, a workbook, a cookbook, or series of tutorials? Is it fiction or non-fiction? Perhaps it’s a blended genre (a creative combination of some of the above.)
Author Laura Esquivel wrote two sensational examples of blended genre books:
Like Water For Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies.
Law of Love. Part novel, part comic book, part opera music (via an enclosed CD.)
Journal on how your book could be integrated with an audio, a video, a course or maybe an app you create?
4th Question, 4th Cup – How Will I Structure My Story?
Tea Suggestion for Writers: When I need to invoke structure I fire up some peppermint tea. Peppermint seems especially good for stimulating ideas, optimism, and organization.
Spend your tea time today writing out a fantasy structure for your chapters.
Just wing it, no one’s watching.
Your structure will probably change countless times anyway. And you have to start somewhere.
Perhaps begin by looking at the table of contents of a book that wowed you in some way.
What journey did that book take you on through its chapter structure? Look closely at the names of its chapters.
Write up an impulsive list of temporary chapter names for your book. Maybe your chapters are named after your paintings, the stages of Alchemy or the moons of Saturn – now is the time for dreaming.
For a deeper dive into structuring a non-fiction book check out this post.
For help plotting out a structure for a memoir look at this video.
At this point in The Tea Method, your book may begin to seem actually doable. So our next cup is devoted to supporting your budding confidence by creating a doable schedule.
5th Question, 5th Cup – What Will My Writing Regimen Look Like?
Tea Suggestion for Writers: For this sometimes daunting cup, you’ll need a fortifying mug of rooibos or red bush tea, thought to relieve stress, anxiety and fortify heart function.
How many pages do you want your book to be?
In general books have 250-300 words on a page. So if you want to write a 200-page book you need to write about 55,000 words. If you break that down over the course of a year you’ll need to write 150 words a day.
That’s doable, professional writers usually churn out 1000 a day at least.
And your 150 words don’t have to be perfect. Get the words out first, edit them later. “The enemy of done is perfect.”
What time of day will you write and where?
Do you have a writing habit yet? If not read this article by Jeff Goins.
Finish this cup by journaling on what mini- rewards you will give yourself for writing every day or every weekend.
(And don’t forget to give yourself a reward for completing this week of tea journaling on your new book!)
Read why mini-rewards help so much in my post How To Give Your Creative Dream Project Wings.
Okay, almost done.
6th Question, 6th Cup – What is My Book’s Place in the Universe of Books?
Tea Suggestion for Writers: Before you put the kettle on to make a cup of brain-sharpening Japanese matcha or a crisp black oolong tea, go over to your bookshelf and pull down 5 comparable books.
“Comparable books” are simply books that your ideal reader might already own.
Spend five minutes leafing through each book you chose and jot down the answers to the following questions
What do you like about each book? Why did you buy it? How did it help you?
Why would your ideal reader like this book?
What do you want to say that these books don’t?
Don’t skip this day.
It will help you feel more grounded, less lost.
There is a slight tendency to freak out with this cup and worry that it’s all been said and done before.
So why bother?
You bother because no one but you can tell your unique story.
As the dancer and pioneering Esalen instructor, Gabrielle Roth used to always say:
“If you don’t do your dance — who will?”
Now to the last and perhaps most supportive cup.
7th cup, 7th Question – Who Will Form My Spiritual Calvary?
Tea Suggestion for Writers: Make a steamy cup of white tea like Spirit White to help connect you to Spirit. Other teas to consider would be blends that contain saffron, lavender or rose.
Starting to write your book demands you confront the weakest part of yourself and pull her up onboard our gypsy vardo to seek adventure and complete what could be the most important intellectual journey of our life.
If you’re going on an arduous quest I say why not be like the heroines of mythology, and get a little help from the divine realms?
When I was struggling through my dissertation, a mythology professor of mine (Dr. Patrick Mahaffey) gave me a print of the Hindu elephant God Ganesha.
In it, Ganesha is seated, smiling with a huge book he’s writing in his lap. My professor’s gift was apt because Ganesha is “the remover of obstacles”; especially internal obstacles we set before ourselves.
Spend this final tea time researching and taking notes on any other saints, sprites, angels, hobbits, wizards, gods or goddesses you might like to call on to support you on your book journey.
Now all that’s left to do is begin.
Start Writing Your Book
There will be no trumpets to tell you it’s time.
So why not sit down in the awkward silence of day eight, make a cup of your favorite tea and start writing?
Just grab and end and go.
(You can organize it all into chapter boxes or baskets later.)
It’s time to begin your imperfect beautiful journey.
My wish for you?
May your journey lead you home.
What’s your favorite tea?
Are you planning on writing a book?
What are you afraid of?
Which of the seven days do you want to do first?
Let me know in the COMMENTS below.
Want help making your book dream a reality?
Pop over to my writing coaching page for artists and check my one on one writing coaching packages for heart-centered artists.
Another Useful Tool for Starting to Write Your Book:
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