Are you someone who’s capable of stringing their words into a beautiful strand of pearls? Do you enjoy playing with words?
Has the idea of writing a book ever struck you?
If yes, why haven’t you taken the necessary action to fulfil that dream of yours?
EB White quotes, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
Too many excellent writers never make it to being authors because they lack the direction needed for writing a book.
We realize that writing a book may seem like an astronomical task for beginners. Even seasoned writers and bestsellers’ authors struggle with it.
But getting your story, thoughts, emotions and ideas out there is certainly above the hassle of writing a book. Getting to share the tale that you spin out of the deepest recesses of your heart and mind, isn’t that wonderful?
Don’t hold yourself back from letting the world witness your talent because you’re afraid of diving into unfamiliar waters. Your greatest victories emerge when you gather the courage to get out of your comfort zone.
So embrace this task and fulfil your destiny. When it comes to writing a book, we have broken down the steps for you into easy, manageable tasks.
Let’s look at the step-by-step guide of what writing a book entails.
CARVE OUT THE TIME AND FIND A WRITING SPACE
The most essential step of writing a book is WRITING. And that can only happen when you have enough time on your hand and a creative space where your stories can be spun. Figure out a schedule that incorporates writing time daily; preferably in the mornings.
Before taking on the humongous task of finishing an entire book, you need to divide it into more palatable tasks. We are more likely to give up on something when we feel intimidated by the enormousness of an activity/job.
A disciplined writer has a better chance of getting their book published than a skilled writer.
Stephen King, unarguably one of the greatest writers of our time revealed in an interview that he tries to write at least 6 pages a day.
Talking about a creative space, it can be anywhere. If you can’t work amidst everyday distractions, you may want to find a soundproof space where your creativity has the liberty to flow. You can even designate a park in your vicinity as your writing space. Don’t limit yourself. Try out different places and figure out where you get your best work done.
Sticking to one place creates an energy associated with writing in that space. So, every time you greet that place you will find yourself in a better mind-set to write.
OUTLINE THE PLOT AND CHARACTERS OF THE BOOK
Before getting to the writing part, it is essential to have an outline of your book. If you have been mulling over some big ideas for your book but haven’t decided on one, choose the one you feel most connected with. You write better when you feel a certain pull towards the genre of your story.
Carve out a setting for your story. Create a fool proof timeline. Figure out if you’re going to be writing in the first person or third person. Your narrative dictates how well your readers can connect with your book. First-person writing provides more intimacy between the reader and you. They have a big window into the minds of the characters. On the other hand, the third-person narrative leaves more room for objectivity and omniscience. Choose the narrative that’s best suited for your story.
Choose the themes that you want to depict and find a way to incorporate them into your story. Take time to play around with your plot. Make sure there are no plot holes. This is the most crucial part that will go on to determine the success of your book.
Choose the characters and their traits. Make them as human as you can. Find out how they roll, what makes them tick, what their psyche is. For every action of your character, you need to have an elaborate insight into why they are doing what they are doing. Make your characters relatable too.
After outlining all of these things, you need to prepare a rough skeleton of your book. How many chapters are going to be there? How will the story progress? What will each chapter contain? Having this material will make the writing process a smooth sail. Preparing a framework enables the formation of a rigid schedule and then you stick to it to reach the endpoint fluently.
THOROUGHLY RESEARCH YOUR SUBJECT FOR THE BOOK
For highly nuanced writing, you need to do the relevant research required to make your story more real. Research is especially important if you are going to be writing non-fiction. Before getting to the actual writing, you need to have all the necessary material you may need regarding your topic.
Even fiction writers need to have a consummate grip on what they are writing about. Spend as much time as you can in the libraries and archives reading up on all the information necessary to make your book detailed.
Research the setting and the backdrop of your book well to make it seem more authentic. Read and gain knowledge about the themes you are going to introduce and examine them from all the possible angles.
To have a more comprehensive idea on the subject your book will revolve around, you can even listen to podcasts. Refer to other authors who have written books related to what you are aiming for and explore their standpoint.
All of this will funnel into a seamless writing experience when you finally get down to it.
Now coming to the main part; WRITING. All of the aforementioned steps can go on forever when the lines between preparation and procrastination blur. Don’t stall writing because you have convinced yourself that you need more education on the topic. Enough with the incubation; it is time to jump into action.
Start writing once you have assembled enough material to go on. There are various tools that you can use when it comes to optimizing your writing process. Hemingway editor and Grammarly are two standard tools that a lot of professional writers in the industry opt for.
Setting daily targets and sticking to them is crucial to finishing your book on schedule. Develop productive writing habits and maximize your efficiency. Keep a dictionary and a thesaurus on standby if you wish. Some tips to improve your writing are:
- Choose your words wisely and make them count.
- Be concise and use simpler words rather than making it overly complicated for your readers. Don’t weigh a sentence down with unnecessary fluff and adjectives.
- Short sentences always hold more impact than long ones. It will also be better to keep your paragraphs short and compact. This will not only make it easier for the reader but also be more visually appealing.
- Try to use active voice as much as you can.
- Do not try to imitate any author’s writing style. Discover your signature flair and stick to it.
GIVE YOURSELF DEADLINES AND STAY ACCOUNTABLE
Setting weekly deadlines will keep you on top of things. You are unlikely to stray from your writing process if you know exactly how much you need to finish in a given day.
You can measure your progress in word count or in the percentage of the book you have completed. Try inculcating self-accountability. Reward yourself or punish yourself; whichever works for you. It is okay if you miss a day’s work due to some reason. Just remember not to pile up a bunch of days and get stuck in the cycle of procrastination. If you fall for this, you will have abandoned your book before you know it.
Sticking to your schedule is where it gets tough. You can tackle this problem by recruiting a friend or family member. Ask them to hold you accountable by keeping them updated on your daily accomplishments.
OVERCOMING WRITERS’ BLOCK AND STAYING MOTIVATED
No matter how hard you try, there are just going to be days when your writing will feel uninspired and your creative juices will refuse to flow. So what do you do on such days? Here are a few ways you can adopt when the writer’s block hits you like a tsunami wave:
- Shake up your routine a little bit and adopt new writing methods. Maybe visit that cafe around your block and try writing there. Or try writing in a book instead of your computer. Sometimes screens can cause fatigue, thus leading to writers’ block.
- Sleep on it
- Write your way out of it. And Write incessantly, unceasingly. Write till you get back in the groove. Write till the inspiration hits you again. Just write!
- Go out in nature and spend time outdoors. You will be surprised by how much inspiration Mother Nature has to offer.
- Ask a friend for help. Walk them through your story and let them know where you hit a block. Ask them for advice and explore alternate pathways with them for your story.
- Turn to your favourite authors and bask in their books. Explore their writing styles with a keen eye.
- Don’t beat yourself up over it. Writers’ block is just a temporary phase. In no way does it dictate the quality of your writing. It afflicts even the greatest of writers. So the key to overcoming is to accept it as a natural part of your writing journey. Don’t fret too much over it. It will pass!
Unluclass Suggestion: Read about “How To Write Children’s Books”.
FINISH YOUR FIRST DRAFT
Always keep in mind that the first drafts are rarely the finished product. Nobody ever had their first draft grace the list of bestsellers.
You need to establish what first drafts mean to you. If you are aiming for a manuscript that’s ready to be sent out to publishers and editors, you are going to be highly disappointed.
First drafts are not meant for anyone but yourself. It is for your eyes only. The sooner you get on board with this idea, the sooner you will finish your first draft.
You don’t need to get stuck at certain points in your book because the right scene isn’t coming to you. Being a perfectionist will not bode well for you. Revision and editing during the process of writing your first draft can be a long, slow and tedious process. This may result in you losing the momentum to finish the rest of your book. A better route would be to just power through the first draft and get a rough idea of what your book is going to be like.
The revision and editing part can come later and you can channel all your perfectionist tendencies here. Obsessing over your writing quality during your first draft will not only lengthen the book writing process but also invite self-doubt. And once you fall down the rabbit hole of self-doubt, you may as well bid your career goodbye.
REVISE AND EDIT YOUR BOOK
After having finished your first draft, you can take on the task of revision and editing. But before you dive into this job, let your first draft sit for a few days. Give your mind a rest. Because you are still recovering from the high of completing your first draft, it will cloud your judgement. You are unlikely to discover any flaws in your writing if you start editing right away. Coming back to it with fresh eyes after resting for a period is best for you.
After your rejuvenation, pick up your first draft and read it all the way through first. Read it with some sticky notes on standby. The first read isn’t where you start revising but it’s where you happen upon all the problem points of your book. Figure out what things are amiss in the big picture. And add a sticky note there questioning the course your book has taken.
After having done this, you can start editing now. Go through your book chapter by chapter and refer to the sticky notes you have left during the previous step. Ponder over alternate courses and scenes and how you can best convey the themes and do justice to your characters. This is probably the best time for you to detect plot holes, if any and fix them. This is why letting your first draft breathe for some time before you revisit it works best. Because you have distanced yourself from the immersive writing process and gained some objectivity.
Revision and editing are like decluttering the mess in your room. You designate a place for everything and then find the most creative way to put it there.
RECEIVE EARLY FEEDBACK
It is beneficial to recruit other people to have a look at your book. They will not only serve as a fresh set of orbs and provide a unique perspective but also cover your blind spots. Things that never occurred to you will surface if you let an adviser help you. It can be a friend, family member or editor. Choose someone who you trust to be a good critique. Make sure you are turning to someone who has the expertise to dish out nuanced opinions and feedback.
You would hate it if you went through the entire book writing process without gaining insights from other people and later realizing you have committed some huge blunders.
Early and timely feedback will only serve to improve your book. So do not shy away from bringing a trusted adviser on-board.
PUBLISH YOUR BOOK
With the advent of e-reading platforms such as Kindle, the publishing part has become extremely convenient. Especially if you are a first-timer and don’t know how to approach the publishing facet of writing a book. The traditional way of publishing dictates that you pitch your book to publishing houses either directly or through an agent. But since this process can be very time consuming and inaccessible to beginners, a lot of writers are opting for DIY publishing.
Both the traditional publishing route and self-publishing have their perks and downsides. While self-publishing gives you consummate control over the publishing aspect of your book, it can also get overwhelming. Since you are embodying both a writer and a publisher, you may need to do twice as much work. This includes coordinating everything, designing a suitable cover for your book, finding a business to print it. Not to mention the promotion part falls in your lap too. The responsibilities are less if you choose to opt for an eBook. This is why eBooks are becoming so popular these days.
On the other hand, if you go with traditional publishing, once you have been picked up by a publisher they will take care of almost everything. But the major drawback here is that the publishing house gains rights to your book and you give up some of the ownership of your book. If you are okay with this, by all means, recruit an agent and frequent publishing houses to pitch your manuscript to them.
Now that we broke down the steps of writing a book for you, it doesn’t so hard, does it? All you have to do is follow this list and get cracking. Go tell your story to the world.
Before starting to write a book, you must establish your adroitness. You can never have complete mastery over the art of writing that stretches across a million horizons.
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