The Other W Questions of Writing by Steph Beth Nickel

The Other W Questions of Writing

Over the past three weeks, we’ve touched on what to write and why.

Today, let’s delve briefly into the Who, When, Where, and How questions.


This may seem like a silly question. As a writer, you may say, “Well, d’uh! The answer is me of course.”

But you may want to coauthor a book or publish in an anthology.

And then there are the other Who questions?

Who will my book be about? Who is my target audience? Who will be on my publishing team?

In case you haven’t given much thought to your publishing team, you will want to do so.

Will you go the traditional route and seek an agent? He or she will be a key member of your team. But there will also be editors, proofreaders, and perhaps, beta readers before you get to this stage. And that’s only to name a few.

If you go the indie route, there are almost certainly beta readers as well as at least one editor, a proofreader, a cover designer, a formatter to prep your manuscript for publication, your publisher, your launch team, and many, many others.

Maybe “Who?” isn’t such a silly question after all.


When do you write?

Writing is a passion project for many of us. Meanwhile, we have a day job, a home, a family, church responsibilities, and on and on and on.

It’s important to carve out non-negotiable time in your schedule to write. Treat it like an important appointment, if even for 15-30 minutes a day, and before you know it, you will start to see your work take shape.

Teach yourself to snatch minutes here and there. Get up half an hour earlier and devote the time to writing. Dictate in the car on your way to work. Hide away at lunchtime and add to your work in a physical or virtual notebook.

It will take patience and effort, but you can do it. After all, you are a creative.


I touched on this under the When? Section, but there are countless places you can write.

The most obvious … at your desk. But there are some places you may not have considered writing.

In your car. Dictate while driving. Use paper and pen or your phone while waiting for the kids after school. Record random thoughts while traveling as a passenger, ones that may show up in future writings.

It may sound cliché, but many writers head to their local coffeeshop. If you’re an extrovert like I am or are simply distracted by the hustle and bustle, you may want to invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. (Great suggestion, Roland Denzel!)

Instead of waiting for the perfect location, practice writing wherever you find yourself—unless you’re supposed to be doing something else of course.

To really get into “the zone,” you may also want to reserve a specific location where you don’t do anything but write. Some people have a second computer or laptop from which they can’t access the internet.


How? The answer to this question is as varied as the number of writers in the world.

Without distraction … first thing in the morning before the rest of the family gets up; late at night, after they’ve gone to bed; in a coffee shop wearing the aforementioned noise-canceling headphones; by shutting the door to your home office and placing a Do Not Disturb sign on the door; in complete silence or with background music playing …

No matter what we write and why; no matter with whom or for whom; no matter when, where, and how we write, if we’re called to do so, let’s do all we can to make it happen.

Coming next week: the first post in a brand new series!


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