It’s easy to start writing a book, but way more difficult to finish.
When your heart, mind and soul have been piqued by a fabulous book idea, it’s an incredible feeling. But what happens when that excitement wanes?
How do you cope with the enormity of actually turning that wild and exhilarating idea into a professional book that will capture your readers’ hearts, minds and souls?
Whether you’re writing your memoir, self-help or business book, the key ingredients to starting and finishing writing any book are:
- regular writing targets (even a daily target of 500 words/2 paragraphs per day is better than nothing) – check out my article, 3 Powerful Reasons Why You Need to Set Daily Writing Targets here:
- commitment, drive and motivation: you’ve got to take this stuff seriously if you want to start and finish writing your book
- setting deadlines (and only bending them if you really really have to).
Accountability makes a huge difference, too.
If you’re 100% determined to write your book, but can’t always trust yourself to prioritise your writing or stick to your targets and deadlines, and you get bogged down with work/life/commitments, then an accountability partner/writing group could bridge that gap. Having others around to support you can dissolve those feelings of isolation and nudge you through the wobbly stages, especially when you feel like giving up. Being accountable to someone other than yourself is often all it takes to ensure you don’t give up.
If you’d like to hold yourself accountable and be part of my free, private Facebook Group, click here to join ‘The Writer’s Sanctuary’.
Making time to write your book is crucial
You’re not just going to magically find a spare few hours in your schedule each week, so grab your diary and make some appointments with yourself right now. Keep this time purely for writing. Don’t let anyone steal it from you (regardless of sob stories/carrot-dangling/promises of money).
If you think you haven’t got time, then give up things like watching TV, surfing the internet with no real objective, and snooping round social media. Get up an hour earlier, and/or cut back on client commitments/your time at work if you can. Try saying ‘no’ to things instead of your default ‘yes’. You’ll be surprised at how much time you can actually find when you do this.
So let’s help you off the starting blocks and take a look at these 6 ridiculously simple steps to help you write your non-fiction book.
Step 1: Before you do any writing, do your book research
Take a wander through the Amazon store and see what’s already been written in your genre. How can you create something similar but with your own stamp on it? Consider your USP so your book shines amongst the competition. Don’t be put off if there seems to be a lot of books on that virtual bookshelf, there are ways to make your book stand out.
Spend time considering your ideal reader. What are their pain points? How will your book help them? Do you want to motivate them/build confidence/inspire or educate them/teach them a skill?
Step 2: Unleash your book ideas
Once your research is done, it’s time to download all those ideas that have been fizzing around in your head. So buy yourself a gorgeous new notebook (any excuse) and start filling it up with your ideas. Or if you’re a spider diagram kinda person, get your coloured pens and paper out. More techy? Choose something like www.evernote.com or www.trello.com.
Forget about organising your ideas at this stage. This needs to be a raw exercise with no editing, no deep thought, just an unconscious (or semi-conscious) unleashing. Just allow the flow.
Step 3: Streamline your ideas
Now you can tidy things up. Categorise or colour code your ideas (or create different Trello boards or notes) into sections such as chapter content and headings, book title, the vision for your book, and publishing etc.
Step 4: Create your formula
Now you’ve set those ideas free, it’s time to think about your overall word count. 30,000 words is a great target for a non-fiction book, and to make it less overwhelming, you could break it down into, say, 10 chapters of 2500-3000 words each. If you want to whittle it down further into, say, 10 paragraphs of 250-300 words each then do it. The easier it is for you to think about, the more likely you are to keep writing.
Step 5: Set your writing deadlines
Without a deadline, nothing gets done. Once you’ve decided on your deadline, count how many days/weeks/month you have and work out your daily/weekly/monthly writing target from there.
Step 6: The exciting bit – it’s time to start writing!
No excuses now, just do it. If you find yourself struggling with one chapter, put it to one side and focus on another. If you’re struggling with writer’s block perhaps you’d be better writing first thing in the morning when you get up or last thing at night (work out the time when you’re most creative and pencil that in as your writing time).
If you find you’re losing your mojo, reach out to someone else who’s writing a book to get those creative juices going again.
That’s it. Follow these 6 steps and you’ll be surprised at just how quickly and easily you can get started … and that, actually, writing your book doesn’t have to be that big, scary, overwhelming massive task you’ve made it out to be.
If you’d like to write a business book and follow this method in more detail, then my How to Write a Brilliant Business Book will really help.
So what are you waiting for, it’s time to make your author debut!
Let me know how you get on!
I’m rooting for you.