So, you’re finally deciding to do what you’ve told yourself you would for years: write a book! At first, you are going to feel motivated and ready to take on any challenges that come your way as a writer, but not every day is going to be this easy. Writing is a complicated process that takes dedication and time. You need to put the work in to get what you want to be done. This is why following this list of the top 10 tips for writing a book helps guide you as you are beginning your creative process and continues to help you when you start to feel lost in the midst of it all.
Although the idea of writing an entire book may be daunting at first, it is one of the best things you can do. Words are beautiful human creations and we should use them to inspire both ourselves and others. Becoming a writer means full embracing what it is to be a human – remind yourself of this every day during your writing journey. Whether you’re a beginner to the writing world or have written books before, you can always use advice on how to improve your efficiency. This list incorporates quotes from some of the world’s most renowned authors about their own writing experiences to remind you that the path may not always be easy, but it is worth it. It also teaches you how to begin your writing process and how to keep yourself motivated during it. Let’s get to it!
10Decide What Type and Genre of Book You Want to Write
Knowing that you want to write a book is the first step, deciding what type of book you’re going to write is the second step. There are two types of books: fiction and nonfiction. The simple decision here is choosing whether or not you would like to write about real events that have occurred, either in history, your own experiences, studies – anything that is factual. For example, if you want to write an autobiography, then you’re choosing to go the nonfiction route. If you decide that your book is going to contain a story wholly made up by you, with events and people that do not exist, then you’re aiming for a fiction book.
The third step in your writing process after choosing what type of book you are going to write is to establish what genre of book you are going to compose. This step is a bit more difficult due to the myriad of genres out there. Some examples of fiction genres include comics and graphic novels, magical realism, mystery, romantic comedy, and science fiction. Under the nonfiction category, there are genres such as biographies, memoirs, essays, and self-help books. Your book can be a mix of two or three genres, but you must choose what genre your book is going to be at the very beginning of your writing process. If you don’t do so, you may find your creative flow going in a number of different routes, which would make it difficult for your readers to follow along with you.
A simple piece of advice for deciding what genre your book should be is to think of what genres of books typically spark your interest, and then go from there. Whatever style of book you enjoy reading is likely to be a genre you like writing as well.
9Set Deadlines for Yourself
Setting realistic goals for yourself is a great way to begin your writing process. You must decide the amount of your book you want to have written by what date. Remember, it is always better to write more and edit words out later than to not have enough words for it to be considered a novel – so plan to do more rather than less.
It takes time to figure out how many words you can write within a day, so for a week before officially starting to write your book; it’s a good idea to brainstorm ideas in full sentences and see how much you complete per day. Doing this will help you dictate how much you should be able to get done in a set amount of time.
Giving yourself due dates causes you to write even when you aren’t motivated. You are going to have days where you don’t feel like writing but force yourself to. This is all part of the creative process. Deadlines force you to be on top of your work. Since writing is a solo process at the beginning, especially if you don’t have an editor yet, it may be hard to be self-disciplined – but setting reasonable deadlines helps this. Another way to implement your deadline even more is by telling someone you are closely what you want yourself to be done by what date and ask them to remind you of it. The best part about setting deadlines for yourself is that you have reason to celebrate when you manage to meet them!
8Write with A Purpose
When you are writing a book, you must make sure to have told yourself what your intention is behind wanting to write it. You are going to need to know this so that you can remind yourself of why you want to finish this project if you ever feel like giving up. As writer Rainer Maria Rilke once said, “Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” So, keep a list of reasons of why you want to write what you are currently writing to remind you of the purpose of your book.
As you are going through your writing process, you need to have a goal in mind. What do you want your book to accomplish? What type of ending do you want your plot to have? What made you start writing this book in the first place? What do you want your readers to take away from your characters? What emotions do you want your story to provoke? Continuously asking yourself questions like these allows you to stay focused on your purpose.
Your writing is always stronger when you know exactly what you want to say, so this should be decided on earlier on in your writing process. You can always change the outcome you want your book to have during the process but having a goal in mind at all times is crucial for getting your book completed.
Okay, this tip may sound very vague at first, but that’s because there are a ton of different ways you can prepare yourself for writing. It is vital to prepare your ideas before you begin writing to ensure that the plot of your book has flow – you don’t want your chapters to be all over the place. Being prepared goes hand in hand with the previous tip – to write with a purpose. Knowing what you want your book to accomplish is a helpful way to start your writing journey. Preparing your ideas beforehand goes a long way, so here are some ideas of ways to do so.
Writing a synopsis for your book before you begin actually writing has proven to be beneficial for many writers. A synopsis means a brief summary, so write a page or two summarizing your current ideas for how you would like your book to go. You can relate to this whenever you are feeling out of touch with your story.
Another great way to prepare yourself to begin writing is by making a mind map of all the ideas you have. On this mind map, you can include any ideas you have for themes, emotions, characters, and chapters. Having this visual to look at whenever you’re getting a case of writer’s block is likely to put you back on track with your writing. Not to mention, it’s easy to be continually adding to your mind map – so your ideas are always right there in front of you.
While planning is crucial for proper writing, over planning may also be a burden to you. Many people get caught in the trap of spending so much time planning that they find it hard actually to begin writing afterward. So, prepare enough to keep yourself focused on your original plan for your plot, but not too much to restrict you from the new ideas you come up with during your writing process.
6Only Worry About Editing Later
There is a reason people go through numerous drafts of their book. Your first draft should be strictly the words that came to mind in the exact way they came to you, without worrying about your potential grammatical errors. The stress of having perfectly formed sentences hinders your creativity, so it’s because of this that one should write all their ideas first and edit later. As long as you are writing well enough to get your point across, you shouldn’t have to stress about whether you accidentally didn’t use the right verb tense in your sentence. Get your words out there, then begin the editing process.
Once you have written out the amount of wanted to complete in a specific amount of time, then it is time to start thinking about editing. Self-editing is important because you need to make sure you are evoking the things you wanted to with the proper words. It is also important to have at least one other person read over your writing. Many writers struggle with this because they fear people knowing their flaws as a writer – but get this idea out of your head. Get someone you trust to read your work and give you feedback; this is only going to improve your writing, so there is no reason to be shy about it. You cannot always see what mistakes you are making; this is why it is essential to have another set of eyes look over what you’ve done.
Being a slow writer is extremely common. In some cases, it is completely fine, but if you have set deadlines for yourself and plan to follow them, you may need to learn how to write more rapidly. Writing quickly helps you stay on track and achieve your goals at a faster speed, which is an excellent thing for a writer. Also, when you are forcing yourself to write quickly, you spend less time worrying about what you previously wrote, which goes with the last point about only stressing about editing later on.
The point of writing quickly is not about making sense, but about getting your ideas down. It is easy to think of something and then forget it a few hours later. So, the second you feel inspired, start jotting down everything that comes to mind! While we said earlier that sticking to a plan is important, it is also good to keep a notebook around for whenever an idea comes to mind. Keeping track of your random thoughts helps give you ideas on the days you aren’t feeling so motivated to write. The more ideas you have, the faster you write.
A helpful tip on how to write as fast and as much as possible on a day to day basis is to make sure you write every day. This may seem like a simple piece of advice, but one of the things writers struggle with the most is showing up to write every day. After two or three weeks of making yourself write every single day, you get into the habit of it, and it no longer feels like you are forcing yourself. Another easy tip to help you write more rapidly is to make a checklist of everything you want to get done in a day and then force yourself to complete it.
4Join A Writing Group
As the great Ernest Hemingway once said, “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” Dedicating a lot of time to writing your new book also means spending a lot of time alone, and this isn’t always a pleasant experience for people. Writers get very lonely very quickly, so if you are someone who craves human interaction, then seeking out other authors to be friends with is a great idea. If you already have friends who are also writers, ask them to go for coffee dates where you both write. You can then take breaks every 30 to 45 minutes and discuss your ideas with each other.
Another way to make friends with fellow authors is by going to a writing group. Joining a writing group is one of the most productive things you can do for yourself while you are in the midst of writing a book. Putting yourself in the presence of other writers motivates you because it forces you to follow your deadlines more strictly, knowing that you want to bring something to the writing group that is both complete and compelling. Another reason for joining a writing group is beneficial for every writer is because you get the chance to brainstorm your ideas with others, and they can provide you with complementary ideas or constructive criticism. Also, hearing what other people are writing about may spark new ideas in your head. Not to mention, being part of a writing group offers you guidance and encouragement from others, which we all need at times.
3Seek Inspiration by Reading Other Authors’ Works
If you are a writer, there are high chances that you are probably also an avid reader – the two go hand-in-hand. Having a love for books definitely helps when you are attempting to write one. Reading as often as you can while writing your novel is likely to keep you inspired. It is challenging to be motivated every single day of your life but knowing where to seek inspiration helps break this difficulty. Follow author William Faulkner’s advice when he says, “Read, read, read. Read everything?–?trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it, just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
Besides getting new ideas by reading other people’s works, you also discover different methods and techniques that you can use within your own writing – even if you don’t notice you are doing so.
Keep a pile of your favorite novels, essays, and magazines by the side of your writing desk so that whenever you are facing writer’s block, you have somewhere to look to. After you have prepared your outline for how you want your novel to go and the themes you want it to have, seek out other works that discuss similar topics. Other people are always inspiring us, so use others’ ideas to stimulate your own.
2Put Gaps in Your Schedule for Creative Breaks
Sticking to a schedule is crucial when writing a book but overwhelming yourself with an action-packed schedule may not prove to be beneficial. This is why we suggest planning time to have creative breaks from your writing.
It is very likely that after a few hours of sitting at your desk typing away, you are going to begin to get antsy. This is normal. Staring at a screen for hours at a time is not good for anyone. So, whenever you start to feel like you are losing your momentum, take a break and do something you love doing. Something that inspires your creative juices to start flowing again. This can be different for everyone. For some, maybe spending 30 minutes reading a book by their favorite author puts them back on their creative path. For others, going for a run may help them clear their heads, while some may decide to paint or draw to aid them in finding their center. Other ideas for creative breaks are taking time to meditate, calling a friend to discuss ideas, or walking around in nature for a little while.
Taking writing breaks is essential for good writing because you are spending so much time on the same story that you may lose your objectivity. This tip may go against the “write quickly” suggestion but learn which one is better for you. Aimlessly writing for hours without feeling inspired may leave you feeling extremely unsatisfied with your work, which is unproductive to your writing process. So, if you lack inspiration, take some time to revitalize yourself by doing something that gets your creativity going – whatever that may be.
1Never Give Up
Being a writer involves a lot of internal motivation to get things done. It is easy to find excuses for putting off writing – seeing a friend you haven’t seen for a long time, going to the gym, being overloaded with work at your job, and anything else your brain may come up with. You must put all of these distractions aside and remind yourself that you cannot let yourself get lazy if you want to complete your novel. Allow yourself a day or two off during your process if you begin feeling overwhelmed by all of it, but use these days off to clear your head, not distract you. You should never shame yourself not taking time off that you need, but implementing self-care into your routine is very different from getting lazy. Writing a book requires discipline.
Remember why you are writing your book, what you want it to accomplish, and this keeps you going. Do not let yourself think that giving up is an option. This may sound harsh, but every writer goes through the stage of wanting to quit their entire project when they have spent days, even months, having writer’s block. The reality is, as humans, we are incredibly self-critical, and this does not always work in our favor. Unless you feel as though your writing career is genuinely negatively affecting your life, don’t give up. Keep writing, no matter how long it takes, you are going to be proud of yourself for pulling through once the final version of your book sees daylight.
Write every single day to keep yourself in a similar mindset, one that is both focused and inspired. This keeps your writing brain in shape – in the same way, that you need to exercise every day to keep your body in shape. When writing a book, it is easy to get caught up in the stress of what other people are going to think of your work. Put that thought out of your head and write something that you would want to read. There are sure to be people out there who love the same books you love, so they are also sure to enjoy your writing if you write about what inspires you.
Carl Sagan once wrote, “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time–proof that humans can work magic.” Let your writing become a part of you and always remind yourself of the greatness that comes about from the creation of books. A world without books would be a boring one, so it’s time to get writing.