By: Joe Howard
When the idea to write a book first popped into my head, I was certain it would become an instant bestseller. Before even writing a word, my book was already being featured on Oprah’ Favourite Books, and I was being sent invitations to appear on numerous talk shows. Then I started the process of writing a book and quickly realized that I needed some things in order before I started.
Writing a book involves research, time, effort, and a quiet place to work. You might have a story in your mind that will amaze the world, but if you don’t put in the groundwork, your story might never get told, or, it gets told to only a relative few. I’d advise new writers to make an outline of your book first, trying to break down the story in your head into chapters. One you do this, you can go chapter by chapter, filling in the details that will make your characters leap off the pages. You’ll need to research your characters well as it is the little details that will make us read more. You’ll need to make sure that even though they are “alive” to you in your mind, to everyone else they are black letters on white paper. Do the research first so that you know everything the reader needs to know about the character.
Take your time. My book has been marinating in my mind for over ten years, falling victim to a major lack of commitment. You need to set aside time in your day, or week where you know that you can write without interruption. Time will be your biggest enemy when writing a book, “I’ll get to it tomorrow” will turn into the 10 year odyssey that I’ve been on. Make time, and stick to your schedule. Set goals to complete a chapter by a certain time, and make sure that you work hard to reach that goal. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing you finished that section, just like you promised yourself you would.
Effort was a stumbling block for me when I starting writing a book. It seemed like I’d start writing, then break it off for a couple of months as a result of my life changing a little. Maybe I moved and couldn’t find the time, maybe I met a new girl and wanted to be with her more than my writing. Whatever the cause, what you put in, is exactly what you get out. No one wants to read a 100, 000 word novel that puts you into a coma out of boredom. Readers want to pick up the book, then not be able to put it down. They want to start reading, then make continuous excuses to pick the book up again and continue reading. Make this happen for them. Give them the time now, so they take the time to read your work later.
Try and find a quiet place to write. If you are a parent like me, try and pawn those little ones to a grandparent for a night so you can put a good eight hours in. Have noisy roommates? Head out to a library or invest in a good, insulated pair of headphones for your stereo. Just find yourself a place where you can get into the mood to write. No telephones going off, no cell, no pager, no television to distract you. Your surroundings make a huge difference on how much writing you can accomplish. Find a place that works for you, then keep going back to it.
No matter how you approach your book writing, if you get on a roll, keep going. You’ll be amazed at how much you can write once you get in a groove. Chapter after chapter will be written, bringing you closer to your goal of writing a book. We’ve all been waiting for you to write that book and tell your story. Now go out there and amaze us!