So you sit at your desk with your computer open. A lonely, blank screen stares back at you, begging you for some attention. Today is the day you’re going to start writing your book, but where do you start?
Getting published is actually not the hardest part of publishing. Writing your book is! The hardest part for any author, whether it’s your first book or your tenth, is making the time to sit down and write. You’re giving up watching your favorite Netflix series or sports. Maybe you’re giving up time with friends. Whatever it is, there are going to have to be some sacrifices made to make your book happen.
So assuming you’re ready for the commitment, let’s get started.
Firstly, if you don’t have the full plan for your book, don’t worry. Writing a book doesn’t mean you have to have the full plan in place before you get started. This is especially true with fiction. You might start with a vague story line, and from there, you may just start to write, letting the story line develop as you go.
What you must first decide is what the book is about. You need to have the overall plan in mind. One way to do this is to write, in advance, the back cover description for your book. Can you sum up your book in three to four short paragraphs? If you can do this, then you can slowly pad your book out along the way.
You’ll want to feel reasonably comfortable with your book’s plot, characters, themes and structure. If you can develop these areas before you get started, then you’ll be confident in starting to type on your keyboard, knowing the general direction in which you are heading. Fiction writing is also the genre of choice for naturally creative minds, so you need to find a quiet space and just start letting your mind go.
if you’re writing a biography, this is your story, and as you sit down and start writing from the start, your mind will naturally re-trace the steps of your life, helping you decide what parts are important, as they impact the direction your life takes.
Business/textbook style writing
with these sorts of books, there is not a lot of creativity needed. The most helpful way, once you’ve summed up your book’s overall message, is to write out your chapter headings. If you can break your content into chapters, you can then start filling out the chapters one at a time with relevant information on that subject.
Another key in writing any genre is to just get the words down while they are fresh in your mind. Just type while your mind moves. You can go back later and clean up typing errors. Once you get on a roll, keep typing!
A daily word goal is also really helpful. If you’re writing a 50,000 word book and you can write just 2,000 words a day, which is surprisingly not a lot, you’ll have your book’s first draft written in just six months. Even if you can only manage 1,000 words, that’s just one year to completion.
Another couple of tips is to write every day – and write in the same place. The second suggestion might not be as practical, but if you can write every day, you’ll be surprised how quickly your book comes together.
Feedback along the way is also crucial. The worst thing you can do is do all the hard yards of writing your book, only to get negative feedback at the very end. Find someone you trust and get them to check your work early in the piece to ensure that it makes sense.
Write more often: learning to write a book is a real skill, so our advice to write more than one book. Your first book will serve as your apprenticeship as an author. You’ll learn so much not just about writing, but the entire publishing process, and so armed with this information, you’ll be in a good position to write more often and with greater speed once you’ve been through the process once.
Finally, don’t quit! The world is littered with authors who have half-written manuscripts on their computers. That is a great shame, as becoming a published author is really very accessible.