One of the things I have had the pleasure of doing as a content creator is helping people turn their ideas into a tangible reality. Recently, I helped someone develop their very first book.
Since then, a few people have asked me if I can help them with writing their first book. When I ask them if they’ve started writing one, they’ve collective said the following sentence in one form or another, “I know I have a book inside me; I just don’t know how to bring it out.”
Does this sound like you? If it is, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. If you truly want to start writing your book, but don’t know where to start here are five tips to keep in mind:
Know the purpose of the book
Some people may tell you to just start writing what’s on your mind, which is an awesome idea that you should do. However, if you don’t know why you want to write the book, you’ll probably never finish the book. Now your purpose of the book may change down the line and that’s okay. BUT you need to at least figure out why you want to write the book and why it’s going to be important to your readers.
Know Your Audience
Who are you writing your book for and why? Who do you want to reach/touch in this book? This can influence the stories you include; the tone of the entire book; and how you plan to market the book down the line. Do you want to write a book on what you wish you would’ve known before you had your first kid, your experience being homeless, or what you did to prepare for your soul mate that you want to share with the world? Each experience is wonderful and valuable, but each experience can affect your audience differently or not at all.
Schedule time in your schedule to write
When I studied creative nonfiction in college, my professor would always tell us that even after we graduated we needed to schedule time to write to actively practice our craft. This statement is even more true if you want to write a book. You probably have a 9 to 5; own your own business; or have kids that need your attention; but you must find time to put at least one sentence down on paper or in your phone that’s related to your book. You can either schedule time to write in the early morning before anyone in your home is awake or before you’re in full blown work mode; in the evenings when everyone is asleep and your brain isn’t so focused on your business; on the train/bus going to work; or on your lunch break. There’s no right or wrong way to make time to write. The important thing is that you actually make time.
If you want to write a book, you should just write the damn book. I know that may sound mean, but it’s one thing to say it and another to actually do it. You can get a MEAD notebook and start writing your thoughts down; you can use a voice recorder to listen back to; or you can sit in front of your computer and type. If that seems too overwhelming, open a Google document (if you have a Gmail account), click tools and select Voice Typing. Once you do that, a microphone will pop up on the side of your screen with a prompt that says “click to speak”. Once you do that, you can actually make your verbal words into written words in the document. Don’t worry about being grammatically correct or logical in this stage. Get yourself some alcohol, go wherever your mind takes you and write. The more limits you put on yourself, the longer it’s going to take for you to write your book.
Sometimes when people hear that word research, they cringe. However, if you want to write a book, you need to research the genre you want to write. This may seem extra and overwhelming but it’s not. Want to know why? Because if you want to write a book, that probably means you read books. And if you read the type of books you want to write, you’re already familiar with that genre’s book format. All you have to do is go through the books that you love, figure out why you liked the book, and decide how you can apply what you liked to your book without plagiarizing. This can be done as you are writing the book or after you’ve finished but it needs to be done. You can also research stats or fun facts you want to put into your book as well as read the book reviews on Amazon to see what worked and didn’t work for books in your genre.
Bottom line is, you have everything you already need to write the book, you just need to start reflecting, researching, and writing your book. So if you believe you have a book inside of you, I hope these tips help bring it out. You got this and I’m here to help.
Have you written a book or have helped someone write a book? Do you have any additional tips that can help aspiring writers start their book? Please leave your comments below or tweet me @chelseaahamlet. I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. I am starting a writing coaching service in 2017. If you’re interested in having someone help you start your blog, book, or website, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can chat.