How to Write a Book: An Easy Guide from Prosby Rob Davis Sr. Editor
The day has finally come that you have decided to let go of the procrastination you’ve been harboring and begin writing. Don’t be surprised that even now, you find this task a little difficult to begin. It might not be rocket science, but in the words of Thomas Mann – the brain behind the Essays of Three Decades:
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
If you wonder why a bright and talented writer like Mann would be saying that, the answer is perfectly quoted in John Steinbeck’s soliloquy, which says that “ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
What this tells us is that for writers, an overburden of ideas can be overwhelming and the temptation to quit becomes easier than to continue.
But what if you had guidance from the pros on how to write a book?
In this article, we will summarize book writing in some easy steps. When you’re through, it won’t take too long to realize that writing your first book is not as hard as it seemed before. You can consider this a blueprint going forward.
Step Zero: Before You Put Down Words
Let’s begin at step zero. Whether you ask a pro with one bestseller or one that frequently publishes eBooks every year, they will all suggest the following:
· Invest time in setting up or finding the right writing space for you
· And assemble all the tools you might need
If you prefer working from home, invest in an ergonomic chair and desk to support your spine and neck – the body parts that support the most vital tool – your head!
Or you may be like J.K Rowling, who preferred sitting for hours at cafes to write.
Either way, find a place that inspires you to write but is also comfortable. Also, make sure you have all the necessary writing tools at hand. Whether it’s just your laptop and charger or a more elaborate collection of stationary, arrange everything in easy reach.
Step One: Conjuring the Idea
This is, quite obviously, the first step to writing a book.
Regardless of whether you want to write a piece of historical fiction set in the Victorian era or a biography of your personal hero, you have to make sure the idea has enough girth to carry a book through.
There are many writers who will tell you that often ideas that seem great – are great; but only for a blog or short story and not an entire book.
Dig around and run the idea by friends and family members, especially if they are bookworms. Does it get their fancy and elicit reactions?
This is where you can gauge the potential of your book and make adjustments.
Step Two: Break. It. Down.
This can’t be emphasized enough. An outline or some form of direction for the book is crucial. Even those who write on the proverbial edges of their seats need some sensibility as to where the book will go.
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an epic tale of two female pirates taking the Indian Ocean by a storm or a more serious book about self-help, break your book down into a framework.
One unusual piece of advice here would be to come up with the end first. This is because endings are usually the bane of writers’ existence. It doesn’t have to be set in stone but having a clear direction of where it will end can make coming up with the rest a little easier.
Step 3: Schedules and Deadlines
We’ve all heard a tale or two of manuscripts and novels that went unfinished for years. You don’t want this to be you.
For that, you need to be serious about finishing the project and then sincerely setting sacred deadlines. Yes, deadlines – multiple. Have a general major deadline for finishing your book. But then set more short-term deadlines. You can go chapter-wise, page-wise, or set minimum word limits.
Based on these deadlines, create schedules for yourself. Don’t forget to include time for your family, friends, hobbies too. If you have busy workdays, create your schedule around your weekends with a little time left for non-work activities so you don’t burn out.
Step 4: Research Away
Your book doesn’t have to be filled with references and scientific papers to require thorough research.
Even the fictional tale about mutant mice you thought of will need a little bit of research to get small details right. Similarly, pre-writing investigation can help you polish content within your expertise as minute things are easy to forget.
The internet is pregnant with resources of all sorts. From almanacs to YouTube interviews, research papers, news articles, encyclopedias, and more, whatever you need is probably on there.
Don’t take this to mean that your research will end here. Until you put the final punctuation mark on the last sentence of the book, research will remain an ongoing process.
This step is to get the meat and potato part of the research out.
Step 5: Start With a Banger
Nothing takes the fun out of an otherwise good book like a boring introduction.
Most of us, at least who are fond of reading, can agree that there are certain books with openers that hook you in from the get-go. Two of the most popular ones include George Orwell’s opening of Nineteen Eighty-Four (“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen”) and H.P. Lovecraft’s hook in The Whisperer in Darkness (“Bear in mind closely that I did not see any actual visual horror at the end”).
This is where you capture your audience’s attention. It doesn’t have to be as chilling as Lovecraft’s, but it should be interesting enough to get you excited to write further.
Step 6: Continue Writing
Stick to your schedule and get through with the rest of your book. It might be a good idea to have a friend or family member hold you accountable for keeping up with your schedule – that’s not necessary if you are self-motivated.
This is where you will have to persevere as the middle of the book is where most aspiring writers give up. It can be challenging to grapple with the changing plot, timelines, characters, etc.
Remind yourself why you started writing in the first place and then continue.
One other very important piece of advice – turn your editor brain off. This is the first draft of your book. It will have mistakes and flaws that you will eventually need to fix. Keep that step reserved for when you’re finally editing the book.
This brings us to the next step…
Step 7: Edit. Edit. Edit
Before you do begin editing, take a short break.
It’s important that after spending weeks, months, or even years working on a book, you get some distance. Gain a new perspective and then come back with a fresh brain.
This is the time to be objective and read the book through a reader’s eyes and make changes to improve it. Remove useless words, plot holes, redundancies, unnecessary complications, etc.
Step 8: Get a Third-Person View
Now, when it comes to our own work, we can be a little biased. Most writers end up hating what they write, doubting their own talent and skill. Others might be on the other spectrum and ignore blatant mistakes.
This is why having a mentor, a professional book writing service or an editor can help. Their objectivity and constructive criticism can be effective for further improving your book.
Step 9: Set It Free
And finally, the last step is preparing your book to venture into your audience’s hands – or tablets if you want to go the eBook route.
There are plenty of self-publishing platforms out there including Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing that can be your stepping stone to becoming a published author.
A herculean task for many novices, it doesn’t have to be.
Having an idea is one step taken. The rest is about garnering focus and pushing through. If that seems like a task you can’t execute alone, there are professional book writing services that can help you during the process.
From assisting you to giving structure to the outline to editing, cover designing, and even publishing, they can make your journey to becoming an author a little easier.