Would you like to write your first book this year? If the answer is yes, you have probably just experienced a thrill of excitement at the thought, followed by a feeling of overwhelm. My guess is that the latter emotion comes from not knowing where to start. You know you want to write a book and you might even know what you want to write about, but you don’t know how to take that jumble of ideas and turn it into a coherent book. Allow me to give you a few writing tips that will help you begin your adventure.
Read a lot
I coach new writers quite a bit and one of the writing tips I can’t stress enough is to read books. Pick out books that are similar to the ones you wish to write. For instance, if you want to share your life story with the world, select three to five memoirs to read.
If you’re reading a book that you don’t enjoy, try to spot what about the style doesn’t work for you. Likewise, if you appreciate the style, try to dissect what it is about it that you like. For instance, you might dislike long passages of description and love snappy, witty dialogue. Read over what you like and don’t like several times so you can learn from each.
If your time is limited, I recommend that you listen to audibles. Although it isn’t quite the same as reading a book, listening to the way an author writes can help you pick up valuable writing tips. I like to listen to books while I walk, as I go to sleep, or when I have a long drive. The average audible is 10 hours, so it isn’t hard to digest a few each month.
Practice a lot
If you talk to any experienced writer, they will tell you that their road to becoming a good writer involved a lot of writing. While reading books on writing and attending classes will help, nothing is superior to gaining practical experience.
An author’s first book will never be a masterpiece. However, the experience they gain will assist them with their next book. And those two will make the third even better. One day, with practice and perseverance, anyone can learn to write and improve. Will everyone write a bestseller? No, of course not. But if an author is dedicated to learning, they will produce a book they can be proud of that others will want to read.
If you find writing a full-length book too overwhelming, start with a short story. Or if you prefer nonfiction, write an article. Begin with something more bite-sized.
Blog a lot
If you don’t already have a blog, start one now. Find a readership that complements your demographic for your book and write articles for them. For instance, if you’re writing a murder mystery from the nineteen century, you might include articles about the personalities, customs, and inventions from that time period. Or if you’re tackling a space opera, you could write about NASA’s exploits or review the latest sci-fi movie.
Your blog articles can be any length. Just start by writing from your heart about subjects that interest you. Consider your ideal reader and write to them as if they were sitting across from you.
Work to publish at least one article a week. Treat that deadline as if a publisher had given it to you. Don’t permit excuses to enter in that will deter you. Be disciplined and keep publishing articles. Writing a blog will not only give you writing practice, but it will help you sell your book when you’re ready. Successful authors often blog regularly.
If you search the internet for writing tips, you’ll find dozens of articles. Most assume a level of expertise and will dive into points of grammar and style. Those are good to read, but the truth is that all writers begin simply by writing. Just start and have fun!