Writing a BookJeannine Bennett
So, You Want to Write a Book
As a recently published author, I know what it feels like to have the desire to write a book but not know where to start. I envisioned writing a book for years but couldn’t seem to make it happen. I can recall dedicated times sitting in a chair staring at a computer determined to crank out even one paragraph. Hours seemed to creep by slowly with no words to fill the screen. I would start then stop, start then stop. The cycle was brutal. The backspace key became my comfort, and the delete key, my enemy. By the end of the session, I would have nothing to show for the hours I spent in front of my computer. My grand plans were often crushed when the words did not come, or the self-doubt kicked in.
Stumbling Blocks to Writing a Book
About 10 years ago, I actually thought I would get that book out of my head. I typed up a whopping eight chapters and felt pretty good about myself until I became paralyzed by fear. Unstoppable questions swirled around in my head.
- Is my writing good enough?
- Am I a good storyteller?
- How will my writing be perceived?
- Will people understand what I am trying to convey?
- What do I do once the book is written?
- How much will it cost to get the book published?
- I don’t know any publishers, how do I get one?
I could go on, but I think you get my point. Does that sound like you? Have you tried to write several times only to be thrust into a state of panic? Perhaps you have written that book but wonder what you need to do next.
Friends, I am here to say you are not alone! Most writers experience some kind of apprehension when writing a book. Yes, even famous authors. New, want to be authors worry about others’ perception, writing skills, and the publishing unknowns. Prominent authors wonder if their current book will better than the last. They struggle with the feeling that they are only as good as their previous book.
I eventually got that book out of my head and published, and the good news is I know you can too!
If you really want to write a book, I highly recommend you find an author to serve as your mentor. A great place to find another author is to join a writing group. You can do an Internet search to find writing groups that focus on your genre.
The best advice I ever got came from an author who had already published 75 books. We were friends at church and she offered to share what she had learned over the years. She started by asking me questions.
- What kind of book do you want to write?
- Who are your favorite authors?
- Do any of those authors write the types of books you want to write?
- What is it about that author’s style that you like?
She continued with questions then gave me some homework, which I will pass on to help kick start your writing.
- Get a journal to capture your writing thoughts. Start by writing down the types of books you would like to write
- Think about the authors of the books you like to read. Make a list of them and then check out their websites, and sign up for their newsletters
- Find a book written by your favorite author. While reading that book, make a note of the author’s style. Do you like that the author writes nonfiction books and summarizes the thoughts shared at the end of every chapter? Perhaps you are like me and like bible studies. Do you love the questions in the bible study that help you reflect on the lesson being taught? Maybe you love fiction and how the author draws you into the story with their descriptive details. Whatever it is, write it down
- Look at that author’s book. How did they format it? How many chapters are included? How is it structured? Did the look and layout draw you to that book as well as the words?
These are all things you can do to create a guide for yourself. The guidance I received helped me eliminate the fear that paralyzed me and kept me stuck. My friend’s simple advice got me to slowly understand the process. The homework resulted in a roadmap of sorts. Through the effort, I discovered what I liked and how I wanted my books to look. Once I got that figured out, I just needed to write. The writing was still a bit of a challenge, but at least I wasn’t so bogged down in the unknowns anymore.
The next thing my author friend shared was to write without stopping. In other words, just write but don‘t worry about what you wrote. Get it all out of your head. Shoot for a goal like 40,000 words, and don’t look at your writing until you get there. When you reach that magic word count number and feel the book is complete, then go back and edit. It is much easier to edit words on a page than to conjure up words that don’t exist.
Let me know how things go with your homework. Feel free to share your experience and questions in the comment section. I would love to learn more about your efforts and what’s on your writer’s mind!
Future Blog Articles
What to learn more? Keep an eye out for future blog articles where I will share detailed tips and resources on writing, publishing, and promoting a book. Do you want to find great book cover designers, editors, and web designers? Need tips on formatting and preparing your own books for publishing? Do you want help with your writing, marketing, or book publishing? Contact us, we are here to help!
I am cheering for you, my fellow writers. You can do it!