5 Golden Steps To Writing Your First Book
“A word after a word after a word is power.” —Margaret Atwood
1. Be Passionate About Your Topic
If you’re looking to write your first book, even the idea of typing up hundreds of pages with no true guideline is a terrifying one. Make sure that what you choose to base your book on is something that you know well, or are willing to learn greatly about. Be ready to spend countless hours researching and taking notes on your topic. Be ready to make edits upon edits and be ready to get sick and tired of the subject you choose – yet always try to remember why you’re doing it, and don’t give up.
2. Make A Guideline & Stick To It
Before you start writing, think about exactly what you want to get accomplished and what your book, as a whole, will consist of. Think of things like chapters, characters, concluding resolutions. Go back to the basics and think of rising action, climax, conflicts. Write your book in your mind and make a note of everything you want to accomplish once it’s all on paper. Use this as a map to guide you through your writing process. Any changes you make to the overall design of your book should be secondary.
3. Set A Daily Goal, Space & Time To Write
No matter how busy your schedule is, you can find time to work on your book if it’s truly what you want to do. Make yourself a schedule, even if you give yourself only an hour a day on weekdays. Follow it. Every day, sit down in front of your computer or notebook and write. It doesn’t matter if you even end up including all the pages in your book (you probably won’t) but the more you practice and let the words out, the quicker your turn around will be, and the more content you’ll have to choose from when you get to your final edits.
Be sure to set yourself a daily goal, such as: write three pages a day. Or ten or one. Then go from there. Treat your writing process as if it were your full-time job. Don’t give yourself vacation days, or if you do, schedule them beforehand and make up for the work the week later.
Consistency is key when looking to start and finish a book. You don’t need any more distractions than your own brain will already provide, so with a set guideline, time and place, you’ll at least be more likely to concentrate solely on your writing. Having said this, your bed is not an ideal spot.
4. Show Your Drafts To Someone
We know, you’re a writer, this is terrifying, but be confident and try to get feedback early. Even if the people you show it to aren’t as interested in your subject or don’t have professional writing skills or probably won’t give you key literary advice, show it to them anyway – but throw some editors and writers in the mix too. You have to be ready to face criticism and commentary from people once you eventually finish and publish your work; and while you are the writer, you need to let yourself be open to more than one point of view before you set the entire mood and style of your book. Embrace different ideas and be ready to make changes. A draft is only the beginning.
5. Don’t Quit
Everything in life has to come to an end sometime, and even if book writing is just your hobby, you will never make yourself finish if you don’t treat it like an assignment and give yourself a deadline. An absurd amount of books in the world go unpublished and unread simply because the author decided to quit halfway through.
Realize that maybe over the process of writing your book you’ll start to feel that you’ve lost interest in the subject. You may feel like you’ve gotten busier at work or are trying to focus more on your family. Whatever the cause is, whenever you feel like quitting, try to remember what motivated you to start in the first place. Even if you don’t end up publishing your work, (though you should certainly try) give yourself the satisfaction of saying “I’m done, I did it.”
Yours is the only validation you need anyway.