How to Start Writing a Book

I want to write…but where do I even start?

The title of this post is easily the most-asked question I receive.

Whether it is through Quora, Medium, an email, a Facebook group, a message, or through my website, everyone wants to know: How do I write a book?

Most of them have an idea of what they want to write and a large number have even started writing and have hit some sort of roadblock. Maybe they don’t know what comes next or aren’t sure who their audience is or how to write to them. Maybe they got writer’s block.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

In many cases, they got a burst of inspiration and started writing and 2000, 4000, or 5000 words later, they aren’t sure where to go from where they are.

But the result is the same: The idea is there, the desire is prevalent, and the urge to write a book has intensified.

The first step to writing a book is to know what you’re going to write.

Does this seem obvious? Maybe so. But it’s not about an idea. It’s about having a PLAN.

Step 1 is identifying your audience.

It needs to be more than “women who are confident” or “chefs who like food.”

That is too broad and you won’t be able to write to them directly.

Narrow it down to who you think your nonfiction book will help the most or who will most identify with it.

These may be “women who won their own businesses and need more community and to feel more confident” or “chefs who are looking to transition into organic-only foods.”

The more you can identify WHO is your reader, the better you will be able to put the information those specific people need into your book.

Step 2 is creating an outline.

I have said it before and I’m 100% sure I will spend the rest of my career saying it: Having an outline is a MUST.

It is completely important and necessary and will allow you to finish your book faster, keep you from getting writer’s block, and give yourself a map to writing your book.

I think of an outline as the first draft of my book.

My outline is the skeleton and my manuscript is just fleshing it out.

I do not do multiple drafts of manuscripts. Because I know for a fact what will be included in my book before I even start writing. I know how I want to start and end it, what information and stories I want to give out, why examples or action steps I want to include, and the order everything will be in.

Step 3 is to write.

Set up a writing schedule. Break down the process and write often.

Steps 4 is editing.

Get professional editing. You really really DO need it. Especially if you are self-publishing, your book needs to be professionally edited.

A good editor is often the difference between success and failure in self-publishing.

Poorly edited books get bad reviews and people stop reading them as they get distracted by typos, run on sentences, and inconsistencies.

Conclusion

You absolutely can write a book. It can do great things for your career and your credibility and you can use it to market yourself or as a promotional item.

If you want to write a book, go for it! And I hope this helps you get started.

Written by

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com

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