The process of writing a book begins with a great idea.
Look for a story that hasn’t been told before, or for the way to tell a known story in a brand new way. If you spend any time perusing a book store, you can easily get the impression that there are no more new ideas to be had. All the words have been written, and there is nothing new under the sun to be said.
You make them vegetarian, sparkly and breathlessly in love with a human. Throw in a few werewolves for good effect, write stories that move fast and breath in suspense, and before you know it you have the most preposterous best seller in history. Cult fan fiction!
There are definitely new stories to be written.
If your idea falls into the nonfiction category, you must start by researching what others have written on your topic. How has this issue been addressed in the past? What angle will you come at with your topic? You must have a working knowledge of what’s been written on your subject before you begin.
Once your story idea is finalized, and researched, the time has come to write the outline. We’ve talked about that already.
So now you have your story, your outline, and the most basic of research done – what is your next step? This, again, depends on your topic. If your writing requires extra research, it’s really best to lay out how much time you want to spend researching, and to get as much done in that time as possible. But beware! If you don’t give yourself some sort of timeline, you can easily get bogged down in the research. Look at your calendar and set a time when you will begin writing, whether your research is finished or not.
And then, when the day to begin writing comes around, the thing to do is…write.
Sit down and write.
Tell your story. Hammer it out. Transfer the words from your head to paper.
When you write will depend upon you and your schedule. I am a morning writer…unless I write at night, at which point I am a reluctant nighttime writer. It may change for you, as well. Or perhaps you work better on a set schedule. It doesn’t matter when you write – as long as you do it!
I now have an important piece of advice to offer my fellow writers that I myself did not take well. This is a “do as I say, not as I do” bit of encouragement, learned from doing things the hard way.
Don’t take too long. It took me ten years to write my story – three years to write the most current draft. It seemed I would have moments of inspiration in which I’d write in great spurts, vomiting the story out in large sections. And after that the book would sit dormant for months until another wave of inspiration hit. Or a wave of time time. Or focus.
Yes, I had small children. Very small children, in fact. Life was busy and overwhelming and distracting, and I let it all become an excuse not to write. Don’t let life be an excuse, and don’t wait. The mark of a dedicated writer is one who writes when she doesn’t feel like it, even when life is overwhelming and uninspired.
- A few other points to take into consideration:
- Write hard until the story is finished, and try not to stop and edit along the way.
- Editing before you finish is a sure way to stretch a project out considerably.
- When writing fiction, don’t over research. The beauty of fiction is you get to make the story up. When you go back to edit, you can always fill in the gaps or fix the messy details.
- When writing nonfiction, do your research ahead of time and be organized. You’ll set yourself up for much less frustration!
The process of writing a book really boils down to this – Just write until you’re done.
And when you finally get to that glorious moment when you type in those two beautiful words, The End, you will feel a satisfaction and sense of accomplishment unlike any other in life. It’s a race, writing a book, and the finish line is oh so good.
Happy writing, my friends.
This is part of a 31 Day series on becoming an author. To read all the posts in this series, click here. To stay up to date on my daily posts through email subscription, enter your email address in the top left corner.