Skip Nav

How to Start Writing a Book: A Peek Inside One Writer’s Process

Popular Articles

❶Will be so grateful for hearing from you! The good news is that it is the hardest part.

Character Worksheets

115 comments
Comments navigation
About the author

The best way to stay accountable to your writing goals is to be accountable to someone else. To finish a book, you need motivation, perseverance and focus. An experienced writing coach will help you stay on track and develop these skills. At Now Novel, your mentor is only an email away whenever you have a question about craft or you want to run a few pages past someone who will share their own insights. Writing is inevitably a process of building towards the next draft, and working with a coach has set me up with a ready-made roadmap, which makes revising seem a fun, rather than daunting, prospect.

The advantage of a longer term arrangement like this is that it starts to feel more like a partnership. A mentor, much like an editor, wants to see the work. Wants to read and talk about it. This has made a clear difference in my writing. I am accountable; learning; inspired.

Each step is very thorough, but also very convenient. I also love all of the reference information that is provided - the guides, the forums, the questions, the samples. I have always been bad at staying on top of things. I think by having someone looking forward to my work I will be more willing to push myself. Detailed with everything in one place. The blog is also incredibly helpful. This policy covers how we use your personal information. We take your privacy seriously and will take all measures to protect your personal information.

Any personal information received will only be used to fill your order. We will not sell or redistribute your information to anyone. For nonfiction, try to come up with chapter titles and a sentence or two of what each chapter will cover. Once you have your one-page outline, remember it is a fluid document meant to serve you and your book. Expand it, change it, play with it as you see fit—even during the writing process.

That may consist of three sessions of two hours each, two sessions of three hours, or six one-hour sessions—whatever works for you. I recommend a regular pattern same times, same days that can most easily become a habit. Having trouble finding the time to write a book? You have to make it. Something in your calendar will likely have to be sacrificed in the interest of writing time. Never sacrifice your family on the altar of your writing career.

Many writers insist they have no time to write, but they always seem to catch the latest Netflix original series, or go to the next big Hollywood feature. They enjoy concerts, parties, ball games, whatever. How important is it to you to finally write your book? What will you cut from your calendar each week to ensure you give it the time it deserves?

To ensure you finish your book, set your own deadline—then consider it sacred. Now determine—and enter in your calendar—the number of pages you need to produce per writing session to meet your deadline. If it proves unrealistic, change the deadline now. If you have no idea how many pages or words you typically produce per session, you may have to experiment before you finalize those figures. Divide by 50 weeks accounting for two off-weeks , and you get eight pages per week.

Now is the time to adjust these numbers,while setting your deadline and determining your pages per session. Or you know your book will be unusually long. Change the numbers to make it realistic and doable, and then lock it in. Remember, your deadline is sacred.

I quit fretting and losing sleep over procrastinating when I realized it was inevitable and predictable, and also that it was productive. Maybe it was at first. If you have to go back in and increase the number of pages you need to produce per session, do that I still do it all the time. Have you found yourself writing a sentence and then checking your email? Writing another and checking Facebook?

Then you just have to check out that precious video from a talk show where the dad surprises the family by returning from the war. That leads to more and more of the same. Look into these apps that allow you to block your email, social media, browsers, game apps, whatever you wish during the hours you want to write. Some carry a modest fee, others are free. Your details and logic and technical and historical details must be right for your novel to be believable.

The last thing you want is even a small mistake due to your lack of proper research. Your credibility as an author and an expert hinges on creating trust with your reader. That dissolves in a hurry if you commit an error.

Talk back to yourself if you must. It may sound silly, but acknowledging yourself as a writer can give you the confidence to keep going and finish your book. Not you-first, not book-first, not editor-, agent-, or publisher-first. Certainly not your inner circle- or critics-first. When fans tell me they were moved by one of my books, I think back to this adage and am grateful I maintained that posture during the writing.

So, naturally, you need to know your reader. When in doubt, look in the mirror. The surest way to please your reader is to please yourself. Write what you would want to read and trust there is a broad readership out there that agrees. Oh, it can still change if the story dictates that. But settling on a good one will really get you off and running. Great opening lines from other classics may give you ideas for yours.

In a novel, if everything is going well and everyone is agreeing, your reader will soon lose interest and find something else to do—like watch paint dry. Are two of your characters talking at the dinner table?

Have one say something that makes the other storm out. Some deep-seeded rift in their relationship has surfaced. Thrust people into conflict with each other. Check out some of the current bestselling nonfiction works to see how writers accomplish this. Tension is the secret sauce that will propel your reader through to the end. Many of us are perfectionists and find it hard to get a first draft written—fiction or nonfiction—without feeling compelled to make every sentence exactly the way we want it.

Deep as I am into a long career, I still have to remind myself of this every writing day. I cannot be both creator and editor at the same time. That slows me to a crawl, and my first draft of even one brief chapter could take days. Our job when writing that first draft is to get down the story or the message or the teaching—depending on your genre. Imagine yourself wearing different hats for different tasks , if that helps—whatever works to keep you rolling on that rough draft.

This chore is about creating. Some like to write their entire first draft before attacking the revision. As I say, whatever works. I alternate creating and revising. The first thing I do every morning is a heavy edit and rewrite of whatever I wrote the day before.

Then I switch hats, tell Perfectionist Me to take the rest of the day off, and I start producing rough pages again. Compartmentalize your writing vs. Most who fail at writing a book tell me they give up somewhere in what I like to call The Marathon of the Middle. The solution there is in the outlining stage , being sure your middle points and chapters are every bit as valuable and magnetic as the first and last. If you strategize the progression of your points or steps in a process—depending on nonfiction genre—you should be able to eliminate the strain in the middle chapters.

For novelists, know that every book becomes a challenge a few chapters in. Force yourself back to your structure, come up with a subplot if necessary, but do whatever you need to so your reader stays engaged. Fiction writer or nonfiction author, The Marathon of the Middle is when you must remember why you started this journey in the first place.

You have something to say. You want to reach the masses with your message. It still is for me—every time. Embrace the challenge of the middle as part of the process. If it were easy, anyone could do it. This is just as important for your nonfiction book as your novel.

But even a how-to or self-help book needs to close with a resounding thud , the way a Broadway theater curtain meets the floor. Agents and editors can tell within the first two pages whether your manuscript is worthy of further consideration. That sounds unfair, and maybe it is. Because they can almost immediately envision how much editing would be required to make those first couple of pages publishable.

For my full list and how to use them, click here. Imagine engaging a mentor who can help you sidestep all the amateur pitfalls and shave years of painful trial-and-error off your learning curve. Many masquerade as mentors and coaches but have never really succeeded themselves. Look for someone widely-published who knows how to work with agents, editors, and publishers.

There are many helpful mentors online. I teach writers through this free site, as well as in my members-only Writers Guild. Want to save this definitive guide to read later? Click here or below to download a handy PDF version: Struggling with knowing how to write a book? Tell me in the comments and feel free to ask questions. Before you go, be sure to grab my FREE guide: How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps. Just tell me where to send it: But what if you knew exactly: My goal here is to offer you that plan.

Assemble your writing tools. Break the project into small pieces. Settle on your BIG idea. Set a firm writing schedule. Establish a sacred deadline. Start calling yourself a writer. Find your writing voice. Write a compelling opener. Fill your story with conflict and tension.

Turn off your internal editor while writing the first draft. Persevere through The Marathon of the Middle. Write a resounding ending. Become a ferocious self-editor. Want to download this step guide so you can read it whenever you wish? Establish your writing space. What were you saying about your setup again?

We do what we have to do. And those early days on that sagging couch were among the most productive of my career. Real writers can write anywhere. Scrivener users know that taking the time to learn the basics is well worth it. So, what else do you need?

Writer's Digest Magazine

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

My goal: to make the journey called writing a book as easy and manageable as possible for each of my clients. Your words matter. Whether it’s your personal story, a family history, or a business book, there are people waiting for the wisdom you’ll be sharing in .

Privacy FAQs

Aug 08,  · Consider writing along with a friend, have them help you write, or if they are writing a book, write your book when they are. Inspiration comes from the weirdest places, and when you least expect it to%().

About Our Ads

Learning how to write a book can seem like a daunting task. Whether you came to this site because you have an original idea you hope to turn into a nonfiction bestseller, or you want to learn how to write a novel without getting stuck after the first two chapters, we’re here to help. The best way to stay accountable to your writing goals is to be accountable to someone else. To finish a book, you need motivation, perseverance and focus. An experienced writing coach will help you stay on track and develop these skills.

Cookie Info

Oct 22,  · Thinking Of Writing A Book? Here's What You Need To Know If you’re in a crowded field, a book can help you stand out. And so on. I believe all of these reasons are good ones to write a book. Book Writing and Book Publishing Get Your Book Written, Polished and Published All From One Source Without Hassles, Mistakes or Worries! Testimonial "Since this is my first book, I sought out the help of more experienced .