Books are powerful. They teach us, they entertain us and sometimes they change the world. But books don’t write themselves, unfortunately.
If you’ve been wanting to write a book, but don’t know where to start, then I’d like to share some steps with you that can help jumpstart your book writing efforts today. After all, if the answer was as simple as taking pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, then I don’t doubt that you would have done it already. But with some quick preparation, we’re going to start setting you up for real writing success—to become someone who doesn’t only start writing a book, but someone who finishes writing it.
Are you ready to get going?
#1. Think About Your Space
Consider where the magic is going to happen: Where are you going to write?
Writing requires concentration, so think about where you’re able to do your best thinking, or where you’d like to try. Is it home alone, perched on your couch or in front of your computer desk? Is it at a table in a busy cafe or on the ground along a local riverbank? Is it hunkered down at a library or at a coworking space?
In the beginning, pick the first place that sounds like the most comforting. But as you continue your writing, don’t be afraid to experiment with different writing locations and setups until you find what really works best for you.
#2. Consider Your Schedule
Though the result will be worth it, writing a book will take time. Some writers chalk up their success to scheduling dedicated writing sessions, while other writers prefer to write only when inspiration strikes. Either way, you’ve got to find the time to do that.
Look at your schedule with a critical eye. When do you regularly have blocks of free time of at least two hours? Maybe Saturday mornings, or Tuesday afternoons, or every Wednesday? While you don’t absolutely have to write during the times you identify in this exercise, it’s a good idea to recognize—consciously and subconsciously—how much time you can realistically dedicate to writing your book.
#3. Get Clear On What You’re Going To Write And Why
In the first two steps, we were just warming up, but now it’s time to step up to the plate. Let’s get you thinking like an author.
No matter the genre, every good book needs a purpose, a topic and an audience. What will yours be? Let’s find out.
Start giving your book some definition by considering the following questions:
- Will your book be fiction or nonfiction?
- What will your book really be about?
- Why do you want to write this book?
- Who is your ideal reader?
- How will your book benefit the reader?
Take the time you need to get comfortable with your answers.
#4. Establish Your Roadmap
Is your book idea getting clearer to you? Are you more excited about starting to write your book?
Now try creating a book outline. There are different ways that you can do that, but some of the most common methods include: the synopsis, creating a one- to two-page synopsis; the detailed outline, writing chapter-by-chapter summaries; and the bookend, charting the beginning and the ending of the book, along with the main characters or main topics.
Having a roadmap will not only help you keep your book writing on track, but it will help you to write your book that much faster.
However, if the idea of creating a book outline turns you off, that’s okay. Book outlining isn’t the right method for every author, but do try to create some type of notes, no matter how brief. Your midway-through-writing-the-book self will thank you.
#5. Write! Write! Write!
You can do this.
Without further ado, it’s time to sit down in front of a brand new page (electronic or otherwise) and just start writing. You see, don’t you like how it feels to write? You’ll soon fill page after page with your words, your thoughts, your ideas, your message, creating something that wasn’t there before. Slowly but surely, you will see your book expand and start to take shape until the words come faster and faster still. Until your book is a certainty.
#6. Get Support
Make sure that you get the support you need to bring your writing to fruition.
Some authors are more social creatures, while others are more solitary beings. Either way, social support can be absolutely key to book writing. Try joining a writers’ group or enlisting the support of friends and family. Many writers find that bouncing ideas off of others in a friendly environment is an invaluable part of their writing process.
#7. Keep Writing!
Writing a book requires persistence. You’ll need to continue showing up and just keep writing. Then if you do that, your first draft will be done before you know it. And your book will be that much closer to meeting the world.