You want to write a book, but not now: you’ll start later, when you have more time.
Many beginning authors never get started, because writing a book seems too complicated. They tell themselves stories like:
- “I don’t have enough time…”
- “After I do all my research…”
- “No one will buy my book anyway, so what’s the point?”
Want to write a book? Here’s how to get started
You can get started in three steps. Once you’ve taken those three steps (they’re easy), you’ll know what you’re doing, so you’ll keep going. The three steps end your confusion, they break your inertia, and suddenly the project seems doable.
Here are the three steps. They’re questions you ask yourself. Write down the answers.
The first word you write means that you’ve started to write your book.
1. What kind of book? (You can change your mind at any time)
Oddly enough, this first step can be the most challenging. Authors say: “I have too many ideas. I don’t know which to pick…”
Answer this simple question first. Are you writing fiction or nonfiction?
Decide. Write your answer.
2. Length? (Schedule the time you’ll need)
Your book can be any length. If you’re writing fiction you can write a short story or a multi-generational saga of 500,000 words over seven novels.
If you’re writing nonfiction, you can write a “book” of 5,000 words or 50,000 words, it’s up to you.
Your goal in choosing the length is to bring the project into focus, so that you can create a plan and a schedule.
When I coach new authors, I’m asked: “Can’t I decide later?”
Short answer: please, decide now. Remember, you can change your mind about a project’s length at any time.
Are you new to writing fiction or nonfiction? If you’re a beginner, start small. Writing and publishing a novella or a short nonfiction book of 5,000 words gives you confidence.
Again, write your answer.
3. First thoughts? (Start writing. The time is NOW)
OK. You’ve made all the essential decisions, so start writing.
Write anything you like.
You can write:
- About how nervous you are; or
- That you don’t have an idea in your head; or
- Anything you like.
Writing begets writing. If you’re writing a lot of complaints about how hard and impossible this task is, that’s wonderful.
Here’s why it’s wonderful. Those complaints are cluttering up your mind. Getting them out onto paper and reading them forces you to see how silly most of your worries are.
Once your complaints are out of the way, you’ll start writing about your book: what you might include, ideas which come to mind…
Big tip: think on paper.
Write a book by scheduling your writing: think on paper
A book is an enormous project. Even a short book demands many ideas and lots of decisions. If you leave your mind to its own devices when you’re starting a novel or a nonfiction book, it wanders off into the woods of discursive thought.
Schedule your book.
No time? Schedule five minutes a day. When it’s time to write, write. Ask yourself questions and answer them: on paper.
I’ve accepted ghostwriting commissions since the mid 1990s, so I tend to have at least two book projects on the go most of the time. Over the years, I’ve learned it’s best to avoid thinking of projects when I’m not in front of my computer at the time scheduled.
Stick to your schedule; write when it’s time to write. Corralling a book project like this helps you to manage stress. Before you know it, your book will be done and it’s onward to the next one.
Have fun. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.