I believe that every person has at least one good book in them. That project might be an exciting life story, a memoir, a fictional piece, or a family history. Over the last twenty years, I’ve helped dozens of clients share their incredible stories. Sharing your story is important to me.
You might be surprised to learn that out of the nearly eight billion people on this blue-green planet, only 44,000 are published authors. That means that only an infinitesimal percentage of people realize their dream of seeing their books in the hands of readers.
Let’s see if we can improve that statistic!
How to begin
While there are many steps to writing a book, I’d say the first is the most important. Begin with a firm decision to write your book within a year. When this step is completed, you will need to muster the courage (yes, courage) to see your dream through to the end. Whatever you do, don’t allow the many distractions of the world to hinder your progress. Remember, your story is important.
I find that it helps if you create a schedule that you can keep. Ideally, find a time each day to write. I also encourage you to find a calm, comfortable, and stable writing space where you won’t be interrupted.
The next step is a crucial one. Before you take off putting thousands of words on paper, you need to research your topic. Collecting data can take different forms depending on your genre. Within your notes, include your purpose for writing your book as well as your intended readership.
If you’re writing nonfiction, take copious notes as you research the various topics you plan to cover. This will avoid confusion and frustration later. Make sure to record your sources so you can refer to them later. Dig deep. You really can’t have too many notes for your book.
For a memoir, you’d want to consider the incidents that made up your past, as well as the details about the environments and characters that will fill your book.
For a fictional work, your research would include details on any real-world historical accounts mentioned or real locations featured. If your book takes place on a completely unknown planet that has nothing to do with any of Earth’s logic, you need to build a new world. Check out my article on World Building to learn more.
Note: When you are embarking on a writing adventure, you must continue to read books you enjoy that are in the genre you wish to write. You can learn a lot by studying other people’s writing. It’s a bit like when you were just learning how to speak: the more you listened, the more you got the hang of the language.
Now Get Writing!
Before you dive into writing, create a detailed outline. That way you won’t get lost, stray from your purpose or forget any of the minor plot lines or incidents in your masterpiece. Your story is important. Keep on track.
With the outline in hand, it’s time to start putting pen to paper or fingers on your keyboard. Focus on banging out a first draft. Follow your outline and your book should flow naturally.
As you write, don’t edit. Just write. And write. And write. Keep the words flowing. I like to record the number of words that I write per day so I can do my best to beat the previous day’s word count. Yes, I’m a bit competitive.
Once you have your first draft completed, you can begin to edit. Check out my detailed article on How to Edit Your Own Book for instructions on that phase. For now, pat yourself on the back for getting your first draft completed. Well done!
If you’re interested in hiring a ghostwriter, check out my book: Your Guide to Hiring a Ghostwriter.