How to Write a Book
Researching or preparing to write a book? Understanding how to organize and get your ideas on paper will help you develop and tell your story in an appealing and marketable way.
clashgraphics.com gathered information and tips to create a step-by-step guide on how to write a successful book that keeps you focused and maximizes your creativity.
Step 1. Why
Define what you want to write about. It may be your own story, a personal struggle with relationships or addiction, a profound or revealing experience, a new perspective on a significant or old issue, or a story from your imagination. Whatever you choose, people adore stories, and we've been learning from them for centuries.
Before you start writing, typing, or overthinking about your book, be honest with yourself about your reasons for writing it. Consider the following:
- Are you seeking riches and fame?
- Is writing a necessity for advancing your career?
- Do you dream about seeing your name printed on a book cover?
- Do you have a great story that you want to share with the world?
- Can you solve a problem for a portion of the population?
- What is my book about?
- Why is the story interesting or important?
- Who will want to read my book?
Once you’ve defined your writing subject, it’s time to set yourself up for success.
Step 2. Set up Your Workspace
Successful writers work best with minimal distractions and easy access to materials and references they may need. Also, make sure the location you select works with your writing medium. If you want to write on a desktop or laptop, make sure you have a sturdy desk, adequate lighting, and an easily accessible power connection.
Tip: Pick a comfortable, sturdy, and supportive chair. You may be sitting for hours, and an uncomfortable chair can become a significant (and painful) distraction.
Step 3. Outline Your Story
The writing process is not fixed, but accomplished writers spend considerable time outlining their books before physically writing them. Outlines can be highly detailed chapter outlines or simple guides in which sections of the book are plotted. Regardless of your method, you must have a roadmap or guide for your writing.
Step 4. Research Your Idea
If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you must deeply research your subject matter and location to write about it effectively. Even a fictional work should be grounded in some degree of reality. For example:
- A sci-fi adventure (set in space) will be more effective and relatable if the physics and technology draw insights and definitions from reality.
- If you’re writing a crime story, research how police typically investigate crime scenes and protect the evidence chain of custody while seeking their perpetrator.
Tip: Interview people associated with your topic. An astronaut can give you valuable insight into what someone experiences during takeoff or weightlessness, while a police detective can help you understand the importance of preserving a crime scene.
Step 5. Establish a Writing Routine
Writing your rough draft requires consistent routines and productive writing habits. Consider the following:
- Treat writing like a full-time job
- Establish daily word count targets
- Schedule writing time and put it on your calendar
- Set alarms to help you structure start, stop, and break times
Tip: Set your writing goals based on your speed and deadlines, and avoid adjusting them after you’ve set them.
Step 6. Write Your First Draft
Write your first draft without worrying about editing. Focus on writing something now, and figure out if it’s a keeper or how it needs to be polished later. To finish a book, you’ll have to get used to writing fast and leaving the editing for later.
Note: Be prepared to spend as much time editing your book as you did writing it, so leave the editing part for later. Focus on getting your story written, and don’t worry about spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Tip: Whenever you experience writer’s block or feel stuck, try referring to your notes, outline, or research to get inspired again.
Step 7. Solicit Feedback
Requesting feedback on your book, starting early and from as many reliable sources as possible, is crucial. Collect their feedback and apply relevant suggestions to the chapters they’ve read and wherever else they may apply.
Tip: Avoid letting your ego keep you from absorbing good or critical feedback. Your friends and fellow writers are trying to help you, not offend you.
Step 8. Edit Your Work
Good books go through several rounds of editing and revisions. You can go through the editing process yourself or ask a qualified friend, fellow writer, or a professional editor to help. Whichever path you choose, you need an honest, ruthless perspective on your writing so you can know what needs re-tooling.
Step 9. Write the Second Draft
The second draft is an opportunity to apply more extensive revisions and edits. It’s also an opportunity to consider more significant, overarching questions that can only be answered after completing your first draft. Consider the following:
- Does your book have a consistent tone?
- Is there an overarching theme that needs developing and strengthening?
- Are there weak parts of the book that can be entirely omitted?
Your second draft provides an opportunity to address more granular questions; Does the book have an appealing opening hook? An impactful conclusion?
Step 10. Publish Your Book
Now that you’ve finished your final draft, it’s time to publish. Self-publishing is easier than ever with the popularity of online marketplaces and e-readers like the Kindle. If you prefer the traditional publishing route, you can submit a literary proposal to a publishing house (ideally through a literary agent).
Once you’ve successfully published your book, sit back, relax, and start considering ideas for your next book.
Writing a Book
In this article, you discovered essential information, tips, and steps to help you stay focused and on track to successfully write and publish your book.
Knowing how to structure your ideas and workspace will help eliminate annoying distractions while maximizing your writing potential and creativity.
Your lack of structure and preparation will likely result in a lost train of thought, poor writing, unfinished work, and your failure as a writer.
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