Want To Write a Book? 4 Tips to Get You Started

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Most of the people I meet tell me they want to write a book.  "I can do that," they tell me.

What do I say?

I usually ask a few questions:

  • Are you writing now?
  • What would you write about?
  • Why aren't you doing it?

Most people think they can write a book.
Most people don't realize it's not that easy.

I've been writing my entire life.  One of my aunts told me I used to dictate stories to her before I knew how to read and write.

I write because I must.  The stories won't go away.  The ideas stay with me, plaguing my waking moments and many of my sleeping moments, too.

If you want to write, it's not for me to say whether you can or you can't, but I will say this:

If you never sit down and actually write, then you can not write a book. Period.

If you do sit down and write and stick to it, you might be able to write a book, but please don't assume because you've put words on paper, or a computer screen, that it makes you a writer.  Writing is a craft that must be practiced and developed. You wouldn't decide to be a brain surgeon and perform surgery without education and development.  The same is true for writing.

You must spend time learning how to write. Yes, you read that right. Sure, you can self-publish any time you want, but it doesn't mean you have written something worth reading.


I may have stepped on a few toes there, but consider this:  I have worked on and studied writing most of my life. I have sought to develop my skills, and it pays off.  My writing actually gets published, and I've won a few awards thanks to the work I put into it.

So, what is my point?  If you want to write, there is a LOT more to it than saying you want to write.  Just like any other skill, it must be practiced and developed. It doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen without failure and rejection. It happens due to diligent efforts to learn how to write. It takes years of hard work.

So, do you still want to write? Then here's four tips to help you get started.

1. Start writing. Make sure you really have the desire to sit down and put words on paper.  Don't worry.  First drafts are crap, as a rule. Just get the words down.

2. Read books about writing.  There are plenty of good books written by successful writers about the craft of writing.

3. Join a writing group.  Find a writing group and go.  Be prepared to have your precious words critiqued by honest people. You don't want them to give you gentle platitudes.  You want the truth about your writing.  It might hurt. Scratch that.  It WILL hurt at first, but if you listen and adapt, you will improve.

4. Attend writing workshops and conferences. I don't know how many times people have told me they can't attend a conference because their book isn't finished. That's the perfect time to attend a conference! You will learn so much and change how you finish that book.

So, there you have it, four tips to help you start writing your book.  For my fellow writers, what other tips would you share with potential writers?:


Anonymous said…
5. Read good writing.
Hopefully, if they do 2, 3, and 4 with diligence, they will achieve #5! Thanks for sharing.

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