Unlike eating an elephant, writing a book is far more involved than writing 80,000 words one at a time. While the stamina required can seem overwhelming, rest assured anyone can write a book, including you.
How to Write a Book
You write a book one word at a time. Contradictory, huh? A lot of writing advice will contradict itself, which tells us there is no one prescribed way to write a book. So, however you manage to get those words onto the page is the right way for you.
Lucky for you, you can start writing your book anytime, anywhere, no matter who you are, the amount of resources you have, or your level of education. Seriously. William Faulkner was a mailman and went on to write novels like As I Lay Dying, which is canon for many academic institutions. Stephen King started as a school janitor before becoming a teacher long before he published Carrie and other iconic tales.
Having an idea for a story is a magical place to be. Many people get so engrossed in their concept, they dream up scenes, characters, and events. Maybe the story plays out so vividly in your imagination, it’s almost like watching a movie. Catching the muse is the spark needed to turn a pile of sticks into a fire, or turning an idea into a book.
Anyone can write a book. YOU can write a book.
If anyone can write a book, why don’t they?
Great question! I’m glad you asked. Many times, writing the book is the easiest part of, well, writing the book. And writing a book can be hard.
The biggest barrier to writing a full length novel is the lack of stamina. Running a marathon takes hours of training to build up to the big show. Similarly, writing a novel is a long and arduous process, seemingly impossible if you’ve never tried.
In a culture with narrowing attention spans, spending hours pounding away at a key board, or penning in your notebook is not ideal. Some of the drafting time is spend not writing at all, but researching or simply trying to figure out what comes next. Without the instant gratification of writing The End, aspiring writers lose interest and give up on their dream of being an author.
Turning an Idea into a Book
There is hope for the driven!
Now, you’re dying to know where to start. Take the following advice somewhere between “Whatever works for you” and “Follow my advise to the letter”. There is no one way to write a book, but here is some solid advice if you feel lost.
It will be sloppy, possibly incoherent, but first drafts are not much more than a guide to how the story will be told.
Write Every Day.
This one piece of advice is something you will find every writer follows. If they do not write every day, they follow some sort of consistent writing routine. For me, I write best in the mornings after my children have gone to school and before lunch. If you cannot consistently carve out time, then set a target word count for each day you intend to write.
Set High Level Goals.
Know why you want to write a book. This will come in handy when writing becomes stalled or difficult and can be instrumental in pushing through those tough times.
Break Your Goals into Smaller, More Manageable Tasks.
Additionally, be specific and set realistic timeframes on these smaller tasks.
Do Industry Research.
You can already check this off your list! You’re here learning the ins and outs of being an author. Learn about what makes intriguing characters and vivid scenes. Study how to add tension in your story and raise the stakes. Have some spare time? A quick Pinterest or Google search can help you stay motivated and fuel your creativity.
Not just articles about writing but read the kind of stories you are writing, and then some. Notice what you love about the story, why it works or doesn’t work. Notice how dialogue is formatted. It is very difficult to write well if you do not read. Also think of it as Karma. The more you read, the more people will read your book. Plus, books make you smarter. The more you read, the more you know.
The What ifs…
At the end of teaching workshops, I almost always hear a slew of “What ifs”. “What if I only have a fifth grade education?” You can write a book. “What if I get stuck?” Ask yourself what least likely thing could happen next and write that. Repeat this until you can write through to the next scene.
We can what if all day, but the best way to combat the “what ifs” is to put in the work.
Unless you’re willing to shell out thousands of dollars, no one else is going to put in the time and effort to write your story. There is no way around sitting down and getting it done if you want to see this dream come true.
Maintaining passion and enthusiasm can be hard, but you don’t have to trudge the process on your own. I’ve spent the last five years learning the writing industry and offering services to aspiring authors and well established industry professionals.
If you are interested in having one on one support writing your novel, contact me today for a free coaching consultation.
You will find in the writing world, authors give a hand out as many times as they’ve been given a hand up. This is no doubt why I’ve becoming a book coach. Coaches are so much more than editors or web designers. They provide encouragement, but give you honest and actionable advice to better your craft. I spend as much time answering general questions about the publishing industry and processes as I do carefully evaluating an author’s platform. The sooner you partner with a writing coach, the faster you’ll move from having an idea for a story to seeing your hardback on the shelf of your favorite store.
Want to See what a Book Coach can do for you?
Are you interested in a free 30 minute consultation with a writing coach? Check out the services I offer, schedule a meeting, and let me help you reach your publishing goals.