You’ve finally decided to start writing a book, and you’re pumped about it. You’re confident your book is going to be one of the greatest written works in literary history. But when you consider actually starting the process, you feel stuck. Now what?
Everyone has their distinct writing style. Some gush out words to create a lengthy and very rough draft, while others agonize over every single word and sentence. Certain writers start at page one, while others create the body first and then fill in the intro later. Some aren’t even sure what genre they want to follow until they’ve hashed out several pages.
You’ll run into obstacles as you embark on your writing journey, so here are 8 Tips To Start Writing Your Book.
Dedicate a special space to your writing
Find a spot that is set apart from the other events of daily life, and use that space each time you write. Cater the environment to your specific needs. Does music help you relax and inspire creativity? Or do you prefer silence? Do you need to look out the window? Consider your personal preferences and the elements that will best invite the magic into your writing process.
Devote part of each day to writing
Once you’ve established a pleasant environment conducive to writing, make a plan to establish a solid, regular plan of action. An obstacle many writers face is the lack of motivation to sit down every day and ignore all the distractions. Set aside a certain amount of time every day (or even a certain exact time; set an alarm on your phone!) to add content to your book.
Set a goal for how many words you will write per day. Start small—say, 200 words a day—and increase your volume of daily work from there. Even small contributions can add up with consistent effort.
At the moment I get up an hour earlier, I know I lose sleep but over the course of 3 months, I will have an extra 100 hours of writing my book. I aim to write 500-1000 words a day, for over 3 months that’s close to 100K. Make those minor adjustments if you want to write your book.
Solidify your idea
Once you’re ready to put words down, begin with one sentence describing what your book is about. This statement offers a big-picture view of your book. You might even use this sentence when you’re ready to market your final work! But for now, focus on this short expression as a very simplified summary and a means to focus your intent. Instead of using your character’s name, use vivid descriptors. For example: “An enterprising teenage boy starts his own business in a rural town, unacceptant of new ideas and confronts the woes of poverty within the community.” Build on those descriptors to outline your draft. and characters.
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Create memorable characters
In most book reviews and recommendations from friends, I find a common thread: “The characters were complex/relatable/likable.” Very seldom will I hear someone rave about a book if he or she wasn’t moved by the people in the story. Consider characters like Sherlock Holmes; we all know who he is, but the details about his stories are hazier. People latch on to characters.
This means your characters need depth and background so your readers can lose themselves in their lives. What is your character’s name? What are her goals and desires? How will she achieve them? What conflicts does she face? How will she change?
I’ve developed this questionnaire to help flesh out your characters.
Mapping out the path of your character’s development follows what is called a character arc. Each character goes through a transformation from the beginning to the end of your story. Just as Harry Potter starts out as an innocent boy and becomes a steely-eyed young man, your characters go through a transformation.
Crafting the details of your character’s story can present a daunting task, but once you decide on the path your protagonist will follow, the details will fall into place through the events of your story.
Set your setting
Are you writing a work of historical fiction? Do your research about the particular time period and area of the world. Are you creating a fantasy world? In space? Figure out what that means for the flow of your text. If you’re writing a fantasy world, make sure you read these Three Steps For World Building.
Outline your story
Map out a summary of your story. In a work of fiction, what happens to your characters and when? Create an outline of the points you want to cover and in what order. A great tip for outlining your novel is using the Three Act Structure.
Start at the end
If you’re not sure where your story will start, focus on the ending of your work and figure out how you want to get there. Does Harry Potter fight Voldemort? What state is he in when he does? Deciding the conclusion of your work first will give you a better idea of the details and events you’ll need to incorporate.
When you work back to the first chapters, keep in mind that the first few sentences of a book are very important to readers. Some look at those first sentences to get a feeling of whether they want to proceed through the entire book. So hook them in quickly. Dive into the conflict of the story to set the mood instead of describing the scene first. You can provide character development as you go.
Plan for discouragement
During the process, you’re bound to face frustration, confusion, and self-doubt. Plan for these obstacles and prepare a plan to counteract them. Perhaps you can be ready to visit an inspiring mentor who always boosts your confidence and motivation. Maybe you can save a really enjoyable section of your book to write when you feel you’re running on empty. Whatever your strategy is, prepare it in advance. Even simply steeling yourself for that doubt to creep in can help you avoid being swallowed up by it.
Above all else, doing something is better than doing nothing when you’re facing the task of starting your book. Following a plan can help you feel more focused on the task and help you overcome those first twinges of self-doubt or the dregs of writers’ block. Dive in! Before you can publish your masterpiece and bask in its bestselling success, you have to write it.
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