How to Start Writing a Book

This wonderful self-help book on re-partnering is a collaboration between Deborah Potashnik Hecker PhD and Mark Graham Communications.

This wonderful self-help book on re-partnering is a collaboration between Deborah Potashnik Hecker PhD and Mark Graham Communications.

You have a book you’d like to write.  A novel, a biography, or a self-help book; a business book, health book, or philosophical masterpiece.  Where to start?  How to start?  Those are questions that go through every first-time writer’s head.

The key word is “start.”  Yes, you can read all you want about the process that famous writers take or study step-by-step hand-holding guides, most of which are written by people who don’t really want to “start.”

You can wait for inspiration to strike, but writing a book is more about hard work than inspiration.  It is more about sitting down at your desk with a pad and pen or opening a blank page on your computer and getting down to business.

You “start” with idea. Specific or fuzzy, it does not matter.  You may have a plot line or a character in mind. You may have a new diet you want to impart to the world or a business model that you think will help others succeed. You may want to put your life story down on paper to establish your legacy.  Whatever it is, believe in that idea.  If you feel passionate about your idea, then it is a good idea. Write it down. Create a premise.

If you are writing a novel, get to know your main characters. Get to know everything about them, more even than you will ever use in your book.  Write it down.  What is your storyline?  Does it have a beginning, middle, and end?  Write it down. If you’re writing a business book, what are the basic principles you want to impart?  What are the talking points?

Then “start.” Write one sentence. Then write another.  Don’t think about the 300-page book you are writing. Think about writing one page at a time. Just one. Set a daily goal for yourself. A manageable, achievable goal.  My goal is always two pages a day.  For me, that is doable.  Write every day.  Every day.

Think about your craft. When you read, read the best written stuff you can find.  Ask yourself what that writer does that appeals to you.  When you talk to writers, listen to what they say, but don’t take it as gospel.  You are your own writer. Practice. Don’t worry about what anyone else says, but don’t be afraid to share your work.

One last point: believe in yourself, have fun, and remember that no one else on this planet can write what you write.