Before anyone starts putting pen to paper, they start thinking about the publishing process. They imagine their book on the shelves of Barnes & Noble or being selected Amazon’s top choice for the year.
It’s an amazing goal, and one most of us have had. The problem is, once they attempt to start the process, they find it’s not easy at all. In fact, writing a book is really difficult to do. It requires a lot of time, attention, and note-taking.
Can you imagine all the crazy trials J.R.R. Tolkien must’ve endured to keep the details straight? What about the amount of time it took Stephen King to write “The Stand”, “It”, or any other long classic?
The fame and the glory will only come after you finish the writing process. So, how do aspiring authors start and complete their work? Let’s take a look at 6 steps you can take to help you get it done.
1) Figure Out the Plot of Your Book
The great thing about your first draft is it doesn’t have to be good. Making it clear and concise comes later. Your first goal is to get the storytelling right. The characters and the details. What ordeal will you put them through? How will they come out on the other side?
You don’t have to have all the details mapped out either. It’s easy to have one idea in your head, but it morphs into something else as you write. Don’t make the mapping out process difficult, but offer a few ideas you hope to follow.
2) Set Goals for Completing Your Book
It’s difficult to keep pounding away without goals. Most people never finish because they just think they can squeeze in a few words here or there. That’s not commitment. Commitment is coming home from a long day at work and still putting in 1,000 words. If you desire to finish the book, schedule the days and amount of words you want to do each day.
3) Set Yourself Up for Success
Another important aspect of successful writing is setting yourself up in a nice, comfortable space. It’s easy to get distracted by the internet or anything else in your view. As soon as you get going, you might decide you want a glass of water. Or your stomach starts grumbling. It doesn’t take much to get you out of that seat.
The way to combat this is to prepare ahead of time. Sit where it’s comfortable. Get your food and drink ahead of time. Make sure your space is away from the TV. Shut down your internet. Turn off your phone. Do whatever it takes to make your writing time distraction free.
4) Just Write
As stated previously, you don’t have to make sure your book is perfect on your first draft. You just need to write. Get caught up in your imagination. Focus on the story and keep going. You can write a chapter and pull back to edit that chapter, but the best way is to write the whole book without stopping to edit.
Going back and forth, worried about the editing, trying to fix mistakes is only going to pull your mind away from the story.
5) Get Honest Feedback
Getting someone to read your book is the easy part. Most of us have family and friends willing to help out, but make sure they won’t just give a positive review to spare your feelings. You need brutal feedback. Being dishonest won’t help you grow as a writer or allow you to fix the problems in your work.
6) Get Ready for Rejection
Every single great author known to man was rejected at one time or another. Your work may not interest some publishers or literary agents, and that’s perfectly fine. Some of the bestselling authors out there received numerous rejections until they finally got their first book in the market.
Just remember that publishers and book stores have limited time and space. They won’t waste money marketing a book they don’t believe has the best chance of selling a ton of copies. It’s not a personal insult. Keep improving. You might even have to write two or three books until you finally get accepted.