How to Write (and Finish) a Book In 8 Steps
The hard part of writing a book is not lack of ideas and subject matters. We get ideas for books everywhere we turn to.
The hard part is sitting down and actually writing it. It’s a process that takes 'intentionality' and discipline. We don’t just sit down and everything comes out all at once in great flow. We start with a sentence. Then a paragraph, then a chapter, and, if we’re lucky enough, an entire book.
So how then do you begin this process of writing a book?
1. Start small.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to write a certain number of pages a day. Start with, say, 200 words a day. It need not be perfect or even grammatically correct. We can deal with proofreading later – just start small with a few paragraphs a day. If you’re a first-time writer, start with a booklet or short story. Avoid being overwhelmed and keep it simple in the beginning stages of your writing.
2. Create your personal space
Choose a specific place to do your writing – somewhere with a simple chair and table, and without distractions. Typing or writing on your lap on the couch might not cut it – that’s not a comfortable position and your brain might agree with me on that. On the other hand, if somewhere like the beach (or nature) setting works well for you, it’s fine to have your laptop on your lap and type away.
3. Have an outline
What do you want to write about? State it in your outline. What’s your topic or subject matter? Fiction or nonfiction?
What’s your core message? How would you want it to start, and end? Think of your book like an article Every article has to have a thesis or core message. An article consists of: an opening, which presents the thesis; the body, which breaks down points that defend the thesis; and the conclusion, which reiterates the thesis and gives one more persuasive sentence in its defense. Treat your book like it’s an article.
4. Specify a word count
Be specific in your total count – that will keep you in check and prevent you from writing endlessly.
5. Give yourself deadlines
It could be daily or weekly. If you’ll be writing 200-300 words a day, then set a quota for the week, and strive to meet that quota.
6. Keep a journal
Get a journal and make it a habit to write on it often. Write down strange words or sounds you hear. Write down any music or lyrics of a song you hear that appeals to you. Write down any random (and I mean random) thought that comes to you. You'll be surprised at how much that 'random' thought will come in handy as you write your book.
7. Be intentional
Be intentional about your writing time, but don’t set unrealistic expectations, or your brain will revolt and shut down. If you're not used to writing, then don’t tell yourself to write every morning between 7-9am or every evening between 7-9pm. Don’t wait to be inspired to write. Inspiration won’t come all the time, so you have to intentionally sit down and write regardless.
8. Don’t edit just yet
Complete your first draft before you begin the editing process. No matter how tempting it might be to erase and re-write a sentence as you type away, don't do it. Edit after you have your first draft completed.
Follow these steps to begin your writing process, and you’ll realize your goal of finishing and publishing can actually be achieved within a certain time if you keep at it.
I’m rooting for you!