I get this question a lot: “Is it hard to write a book?” It depends on what you wish to write. Writing a novel, especially a fantasy epic involving new worlds and a rich backstory, can be challenging. Writing a non-fiction book on the other hand, may require less conceptual imagining but more time-consuming research. The key to not being overwhelmed when penning either is preparation and perseverance. Below, please find some suggestions on how to begin your first book.
1. Always Create an Outline
Take it from someone who made the mistake (more than once) of not creating an outline, you should ALWAYS create one before beginning any writing. The rationale is analogous to building a home. It would be foolish not to draft a blueprint before initiating construction. The same mindset applies to writing a book. Simply “winging it” is a mistake. You want to know exactly where your story is going. The more you map out each chapter, the better prepared you will be to actually start writing.
2. Do the Heavy-Lifting at the Outset
Similar to the preparations involved in outlining, you want to tackle the taxing mental work upfront. I suggest front-loading each project with all the difficult aspects. The more prepared you are, the more you know your material, the better off you will be down the road. You want to make all the significant content choices as early as possible in the process so you don’t end up painting yourself into a corner later by not thinking things through first.
3. Leave Room for Innovation
The flip-side to suggestions #1 and 2. Know your book’s through-line or trajectory but don’t get (unnecessarily) bogged down in the specific details. Though it’s important to be highly prepared, you want to leave room for spontaneous creative bursts. Build in some room for flexibility.
4. Don’t Give Up
Once you begin writing, don’t take breaks for more than a day or two at a time. Inertia can be a powerful force. Don’t stop writing until you’ve completed your first draft. Even if you think what you’ve typed is not ideal, don’t halt. The most important thing is to get all the ideas out of your head and onto the screen (or paper if you’re oldschool.) You will have plenty of time to revise the material later.
5. Consider a Ghost-Writer or Writing Coach
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck. Depending on the ambitions for your project, perhaps bringing in a professional is a good idea. If the purpose of writing a book is to give your business credibility and it’s not your literary opus, then it is okay to acknowledge the fact that it was your idea, but you may need someone else to bring it to fruition.
There are many, many more tips to writing your first book. Please feel free to share yours. For more info and helpful resources, please visit the Six-Figure Writer Page.