Writing a book is hard. Writing your first book is even harder. In this guide, I’ll tell you everything I’ve learned about how to get started writing a book and how to stay sane through the process so that you don’t quit in frustration or give up on your dreams!
|1. Prepare Mentally: Understand that the first year of book writing can be challenging, but with the right mindset and determination, you can overcome obstacles.|
|2. Set Realistic Goals: Define achievable goals for your writing journey in the first year. Break down larger tasks into smaller milestones to track your progress.|
|3. Establish Consistent Habits: Create a writing routine that suits your schedule and stick to it. Consistency is key to making steady progress on your book.|
|4. Embrace Learning: Be open to learning and improving your writing skills. Seek feedback, take writing courses, and read widely to enhance your craft.|
|5. Manage Time Wisely: Time management is crucial. Allocate dedicated time for writing, editing, and promoting your book, while also balancing other commitments.|
|6. Stay Resilient: Understand that setbacks may occur, but resilience is essential. Use challenges as opportunities to grow and refine your writing approach.|
|7. Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, whether it’s completing a chapter or receiving positive feedback. These milestones keep you motivated.|
|8. Network and Connect: Build relationships with fellow writers, join writing communities, and attend literary events to connect with others in the industry.|
|9. Adapt and Evolve: Be prepared to adapt your writing strategy as you progress. Stay open to new ideas and be willing to revise your plan as needed.|
|10. Enjoy the Process: Remember to enjoy the creative process of writing. Embrace the journey and take pride in the work you produce during your first year.|
The most important thing to remember when writing a book is to get started. So many people have great ideas, but they never get around to putting them down on paper.
If you want your book idea to become reality, it’s essential that you just sit down and write something anything! regularly. You can always improve later on, but at least then there will be something for other people (or even yourself) to read!
Embarking on a writing journey is filled with lessons. In my first 6 months of book writing, I learned 16 valuable writing tips that shaped my approach and helped me navigate the challenges of crafting a book.
Read as much as you can.
Read books similar to yours, but also read books that are completely different from your own. You’ll be inspired by how other authors have approached the same topic or genre. You may even find an idea for a new book! If your favorite book is written in a specific genre, reading more books in that genre will help you figure out what else you might want to write about.
Every hour or so, get up and do something else. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Do something else! Don’t let yourself get stuck on one thing, idea, or character for too long because it can be very overwhelming and lead to writer’s block if you don’t take some time off from the project every once in a while.
Persistence is key when it comes to writing a book. As discussed in How to Write a Book: Part 3 – Don’t Give Up, maintaining motivation and pushing through obstacles can lead to a rewarding finished product.
Check Your Progress
Writing a book is a journey, and you need to keep track of your progress.
Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to do this you can write down what you’ve done, so when you look back at it later on in writing your book, it will help spur ideas for future chapters or sections. It’ll also help keep you motivated by reminding yourself how far along in your work process you are!
Another good way of tracking progress is with word counts: if I wrote 50 words per day over three months (a quarter of my average daily word count), I’ll know exactly how much more needs to be written before I finish my first draft.
A word count also gives us an idea of how long our manuscript could be once complete and ready for editing/revising/etc., which helps us manage our expectations as well as plan ahead financially when needed (i.e., if we’re thinking about hiring an editor).
Another great way of keeping track? Make a list! Lists are amazing because they give us reminders about everything we need to do each day while also giving us an overview of what’s going on across periods; for example, today’s tasks vs next week’s goals vs long-term future goals, etc.
Research Before You Write
You may have heard that research is a part of the writing process. That’s true, but it’s not essential. You could write your entire book without doing any research beforehand.
But there are benefits to doing some research before you begin writing. Research can help you:
Plan your book by giving you ideas for its structure and content
Understand the market for your topic and audience for your book (this will let you decide whether it makes sense for you to pursue this project)
Write in the style you like.
When it comes to writing style, there are plenty of books available that will guide you through the process. But here’s a tip:
Write In Style You Like
That’s right. You don’t have to write in any particular way. Write your book however you want to write it in third person or first person, past tense or present tense, short sentences or long ones, and feel free to change as necessary once you get halfway through your book and find that your style isn’t working for you anymore.
If anything feels awkward while writing, change it! You’re the author; let yourself be creative and experiment with different ways of telling your story
Writing a book is an adventure filled with surprises. Uncover the unspoken realities of the journey in 14 Things No One Tells You About Book Writing, and gain insights that can help you navigate the path to becoming an author.
Throw Away Anything You Feel Is Off-Putting
This is the time to be ruthless. If you’re not sure whether a paragraph or section works, write it out and then decide if it belongs in your book. This can be done even with the first draft; just cut and paste your writing into another document and start rearranging things until you find an order that makes sense for the reader (and for yourself).
If something isn’t working for any reason it’s too long, too short, too boring—this is good information! You can use it to make more edits later on down the line.
There Are No Rules With Writing Books
The first rule is that there are no rules.
There’s a common misconception that books have to be written in a certain way, but this is not true. You can write your book any way you want: in first person, third person; past tense or present tense; with three characters or one thousand; in any style of writing you like (or none at all!). You can even set your book on another planet if you want!
The Second Rule Is That There Are No Rules
Stick close to your characters, even when they act out of character.
The first year of writing is rife with potential pitfalls. After all, you’ve just come up with an idea, and now you have to make it into a book! What happens when the plot doesn’t go as planned? How do you decide which characters deserve more page time? How do you know how long your book should be?
These are questions I could answer for days on end because the first year of writing is my favorite part: the excitement of creating something from scratch and watching it grow into something brilliant. But what do we write about in our books during those first few months? And how do we get there?
To start on the right foot, I recommend thinking about who your story revolves around: Who does your main character interact with most often? Who helps them reach their goals throughout the story arc?
Are any relationships between two other characters particularly important to understanding each other’s motivations or backgrounds like rival siblings who have been raised apart, or childhood friends estranged by circumstance but still deeply connected at heart?
Efficiency is the secret to successful book writing. Discover how the author of How I Knocked Down Book Writing from 48 Hours to 3 optimized their process, turning what once took days into a streamlined and effective practice.
Ignore The Outside World While Writing Your Book, Even If It Sounds Like It Makes Sense To You
Writing a book is hard, so you’re going to want to ignore people. Ignore the outside world while writing your book, even if it sounds like it makes sense to you.
Don’t let other people influence your writing style. Some say you should write in the third person or first person, or that dialogue should be written with quotation marks and not speech tags (like “he said”). But those are just suggestions; do whatever feels right for YOU and YOUR STORY!
Don’t let other people influence your writing process too much because everyone has their way of doing things and yours might not be perfect but it’s still good enough for ME AND MY BOOK!
Only focus on what happens in this chapter or scene at any given time, not what might happen later or in the future or somewhere else that’s not happening now.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that everything has to happen at a certain time, and that every chapter has to take place in a certain order. But you’re the writer! You can decide how things unfold and how they connect. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or changing your mind.
It’s also important not to worry about what other people think because chances are they won’t even care about anything except whether or not you finish the thing on time and if that’s all they care about, then maybe writing this book isn’t for them anyway.
There may be moments when it seems like everyone is telling you what NOT TO DO (or whatever). Ignore people who say things like “You should never write ‘xxxxxxx’ because no one will understand it.” Or: “You should always do xxxxxx because I read somewhere that it works.”
Don’t worry about how long it takes for anyone else but yourself; just focus on the process of writing at this moment right now and let go of anything else!
Look for errors that other people might have made in their books, and don’t let them intimidate you about your work.
Don’t let other people’s mistakes intimidate you. Unless you are writing a book about the history of doorbells or something, there is no need to worry about being the first person to write a book on your topic. Remember that everyone has to learn how to do everything they do.
You are not alone in this journey, and it’s okay if what comes out in your first draft isn’t perfect! The important thing is that you keep trying and don’t give up because someone else wrote something better than what you’ve written so far.
Try something for hours and then cut it out and move on to something else before something else sticks with you and makes you too attached to something that’s gone it doesn’t ever get written down again or becomes irrelevant to your story arc.
Don’t be afraid to cut things out. Don’t be afraid to move on. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they seem like a bad idea at first.
Don’t be afraid to start over again if you have to. Don’t be afraid to be wrong about your book and its plotline; that’s normal for every writer! And finally: don’t be afraid of asking for help when it’s needed your editor/agent/publisher will generally appreciate this kind of honesty and transparency in their authors anyway.
Every writer has to start somewhere. If you’re just beginning your journey, explore Tips for Getting Started with Book Writing to learn practical advice and strategies that will help you kick-start your book-writing adventure.
Well, we’ve covered all the basics of book writing. If you follow these tips, you should be able to write a successful and interesting book in no time.
Just remember: don’t panic! You don’t need to stress yourself out over every single detail and worry about how everything will turn out in the end (because guess what? It will). Just take it one step at a time and enjoy yourself along the way
Here are some additional resources to explore for further insights on surviving and thriving as a writer:
How to Survive as a Writer: Discover practical strategies and advice to navigate the challenges and joys of a writer’s journey.
Writing a Book for the First Time: If you’re a first-time author, this resource provides essential guidance to help you successfully embark on the journey of writing your first book.
Surviving Your First Year as a Full-Time Author: For those transitioning into full-time authorship, this article offers valuable tips and insights to make your first year a success.
How can I overcome writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a common challenge. To overcome it, try changing your environment, setting aside dedicated writing time, and breaking your writing tasks into smaller, manageable chunks.
What’s the best way to stay motivated during the writing process?
Maintaining motivation can be tough, but setting clear goals, finding an accountability partner, and celebrating small milestones can help keep your enthusiasm alive.
How do I handle rejection and criticism of my writing?
Rejection and criticism are part of the writing journey. Remember that feedback is an opportunity for growth, and develop a thick skin while remaining open to constructive suggestions.
What’s the key to balancing writing with other responsibilities?
Balancing writing with other commitments requires effective time management. Create a writing schedule, prioritize tasks, and communicate your writing goals with those around you to find a harmonious balance.
How can I make the most of my first year as a full-time author?
In your first year as a full-time author, focus on building a solid online presence, connecting with readers, and exploring various marketing strategies to establish your author brand and gain momentum.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.