Writing is a creative process involving originality, imagination, linguistic skills and determination. For many people, writing is a release, a form of expression which allows them to convey their thoughts and emotions.
Writing can take on several forms and types. But out of all forms of writing, writing a book is the most challenging because it requires time, patience, dedication, discipline and consistency.
Writing an article or story is easier in comparison as it requires less time and can be completed in a few sittings. Writing a book can be very daunting, especially for a first-timer. However, the process can get simpler by keeping a few things in mind. So if one were to write a book, what would be the kind of things one would have to consider?
However, before you start writing a book, there are certain points that you need to keep in mind-
- Do you have the time, energy, and willingness to commit to a project requiring a lot of time and effort? You may have to sacrifice certain things to be able to write a book.
- Are you willing to learn new skills like self-editing and typing at a reasonable pace (which was a big thing for me)
- Do you have a fair idea about the book? You may still need to put everything in place, but an idea about the plot and the characters is required before you set out.
And most importantly, Why? Why do you Want to write a book? This bit is significant because writing a book is a laborious process which will need a lot of patience, motivation and time. So if you are clear about why you want to write it, that will help you stay on the path despite all distractions.
There could be various reasons for you to want to write a book. Which one is yours?
- Authority– Do you have authority or knowledge over a subject you would like to share with others?
- To Change Lives– Sometimes, we want to share our experiences for others to learn from them
- To Give Expression to Your thoughts, emotions and feelings– Sometimes, there is a lot inside you that you want to share.
- To Give Others an Escape– You could write fiction to let your readers escape their reality for a while and get a break.
- Have the power to change lives– You have some message, some inspiration that you think can change people’s lives.
We feel that the process of writing a book is a structured process and needs to follow some steps. A writer must remember these to make the process productive and worthwhile.
Steps to Writing a Book/ How to Write a Book
1. Establish a Fixed Writing Space
Writing means that you need to be able to sit down for long hours without any distractions or interruptions. Therefore finding a place for that is very important. There is no ideal space, but you pick what works for you. It could be your room, your office, a coffee place or even your favourite couch; the idea is you should be able to focus on writing for hours on end.
2. Develop and Freeze Your Idea
You may already know what your book is all about or be toying between different ideas. Whatever the case, now is the time to freeze it and find answers to questions like what my book will be about. Why do I want to write this story? What attracted me to this idea? Who will want to read my book? And in case you are still struggling to get an idea, you could try using writing prompts to get started.
3. Get Your Story Outline in Place
Most good writers have a detailed story outline before they begin writing. They spend a lot of time doing that. The outlines could be detailed chapter outlines, or they could be simple beat sheets in which each section of the book is plotted out. For example, you could make visual /mind maps to know where you want to go with the book. Irrespective of your decision, you should have a roadmap for your writing sessions to guide you and keep you on track.
4. Do Your Research
Research is critical in writing as it makes your work authentic and credible. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, research is essential. In the case of non-fiction, research will give you more knowledge about the subject, giving you command over it. In the case of fiction, reading similar works will give you an idea about how to tell your story. It could provide context for the period or character archetypes you are writing about. For example, you could read other books, listen to podcasts or listen to other writers as part of your research.
5. Start Writing and Stick to a Routine
Now comes the time when you actually begin the process of writing, putting your thoughts out there. This is the time to get your first draft in place. To get to your goal, you will have to set a routine; a particular part of your day/ night will have to be designated to this, and you will need to stick to the routine consistently. So it is always helpful to have a fixed time so that you know that you have to stick to it.
You could set daily word count targets to keep you on track. Another trick could be to send daily updates to a loved one who wants to see your book out there so that if you slip, they can point it out, thus helping you to stay on track.
6. Finish Your First Draft
Writing the first draft is always challenging, especially if it is your first book. There will be all sorts of feelings and doubts. You will sometimes wonder if you are wasting your time or who would want to read your work. You may even get stuck when you don’t know what to do. But be patient. All this is normal. Just go back to your reason for writing, your schedule and sometimes even your research to get that spark back. Your book may not be the best but don’t fret, and don’t compare yourself to others. Your book, your thoughts are unique to you, and that is what will set you apart.
7. Revise and Edit
Every book needs to go through several rounds of edits and revisions. There are various ways to do that. You could do it yourself, get a friend to help or hire a professional editor. The most important thing in editing is to be ruthless and objective while editing. One needs to be open and accepting of the fact that certain parts of the draft will have to be reworked, and some will have to be left out. You have to ensure that there are no gaps in the narrative and that it reads like one whole piece. I have realized that the more you read and re-read the draft, the better you will get at spotting the gaps and inconsistencies in the plot or even the characters. In the end, the book should sound logical and real.
Also Read: The Dying Habit of Reading
8. Write Your Second Draft
The second draft is when you incorporate all the edits and revisions. Now that the extras, so to say, are out of the way, you can focus on other things. For example, check to see if the narrative has a consistent tone; if the book’s opening has a hook, the ending is impactful. If you find that certain parts of the plot are weak, you could build upon them or even delete them if necessary.
9. Publish Your Book
Once all the revisions and edits have been taken care of comes the time to publish the book. Nowadays, publishing has become easier with several options. With the rise of online marketplaces like Amazon and e-readers like Kindle, self-publishing has become a lot easier. However, if you still want to go the traditional way, you could approach a publishing house with your book proposal but through a literary agent.
And once you are published, it’s time to get started with your second book.
Also Read: Your Guide to Writing a Smart Book Review
Keeping these steps in mind will help you to know how to write a book. Writing could get a little easier for you!