You probably already realize how hard it is to start your book.
It has been rattling around in your head. You know you have a good story to tell. But where do you start? And if you start, can you finish it?
Of course you can finish your book. . .IF you are willing to alter a few things in your life.
Writing takes commitment, and if you start a book, you need to commit yourself to that task.
Don’t think that your book will only take a few days to finish. There are only a very few authors in this world who can spin stories that fast, and quite honestly, I will question the quality of what some of those authors are doing. Do your best writing and you won’t regret it.
How to Start Your Book
Here is a pattern that I suggest you adapt when you start your book:
1. Think about your story and your characters.
Before you ever put pen to paper or words on a screen, have some idea as to the story you are going to tell. You don’t have to have it blocked out at this point, but you do need to have a clear idea as to characters, setting, plot, and so on.
2. Commit time daily to writing.
This is your commitment to yourself and your book: you will spend 15 minutes, or one hour, or three hours a day or whatever time you can schedule writing. Not answering the phone, not vacuuming, not playing with the dog, or not snacking. Simply WRITING. Not all of this writing will be worth keeping, but the simple process of putting words to a page has a number of benefits.
You are focusing on your story. You are creating a habit of writing. You are also showing others you are approaching the creation of your book in a professional manner. If you take yourself seriously as a writer, the people around you will too.
Sit down with a yellow pad and pen. Sit in front of a blank Word doc on your computer. However you are most comfortable writing, just start. That is what it takes to write a book.
You must first start before the rest of the book follows. This sounds so simplistic, but there is a reason why I am telling you this.
When I was a book publisher, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of phone calls I received from wanna-be authors. Typically they started with, “I have a book that’s going to make both of us a million dollars!”
Sounds good, huh? I would respond, “Tell me about your book.” They would then hem and haw, finally admitting that they hadn’t written the book yet. But they were gonna. Yeah. Right. These are people who spent all of their time talking about the book they were going to write, but never wrote it.
They never started. That’s another point I wish to tell you about:
4. Don’t spend time talking about your book ideas; spend that time writing down those ideas.
For some reason, when people talk about their ideas, they lose the energy or impetus to write the book. It fizzles. I have seen this happen over and over again.
Another thing: if a person has a good idea and they don’t start the book, I can guarantee to you that someone else is going to have that same idea and create their own book, pre-empting yours.
Focus inward on your ideas, not outward to a listener. The only exception to this would be a mentor who is walking with you through the process.
5. Build the structure of your book.
Fiction or non-fiction, you need a road map.
For fiction, think of high school English: remember the plot line? Who are your characters and what are their relationships? What type of conflict will you have? Will your book progress through narrative or through dialogue or a combination?
For non-fiction: what is your thesis? Is it based upon your research or experience? What will each of your chapters tell? As a writer, I am sure that you see where this is going. Most people can’t just sit down and complete a book without thinking about these points and many others. Plan ahead.
6. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.
Finish writing your complete first draft before you go back and rewrite. Don’t get bogged down trying to correct everything as you go. You need to be able to get an overview of your entire work.
When rewriting, tighten your verbiage, or in other words, NO extra words. Make sure your transitions are clear and smooth. Correct any errors made along the way. This is the best way to make sure your manuscript is a good one.
When you start your book, you will come to the realization of how complex the entire process is.
Writing a book, a good book, is time and soul consuming.
The old saw, “Everyone has a book in them,” is true, at least in my experience, BUT not everyone can write that book.
If you restructure your life where writing becomes an important part of your day, you have a very good chance of completing your book. Isn’t that what you want?