Today’s guest blogger, Jerry Jenkins, has written a thorough article, “How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps.”
I love lists, so of course I was intrigued to find out more. And I love it when writers talk about passion.
Listed below are a few of Jerry’s steps about writing a book, excerpted or paraphrased from his comprehensive list (link at the bottom of this post).
- Where to start…
- What each step entails…
- How to overcome fear, procrastination, and writer’s block…
- And how to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
Establish your writing space.
If you dedicate a room solely to your writing, you can write off a portion of your home mortgage, taxes, and insurance proportionate to that space. You can also write in restaurants and coffee shops.
Assemble your writing tools.
Try to imagine everything you’re going to need in addition to your desk or table, so you can equip yourself in advance and don’t have to keep interrupting your work to find things like:
Please click on the link below to see the rest of the list.
Break the project into small pieces.
Writing a book feels like a colossal project, because it is! But your manuscript will be made up of many small parts.
An old adage says that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Try to get your mind off your book as a 400-or-so-page monstrosity.
See your book for what it is: a manuscript made up of sentences, paragraphs, pages. Those pages will begin to add up, and though after a week you may have barely accumulated double digits, a few months down the road you’ll be into your second hundred pages.
So keep it simple.
Start by distilling your big book idea from a page or so to a single sentence—your premise. The more specific that one-sentence premise, the more it will keep you focused while you’re writing.
Settle on your BIG idea.
To be book-worthy, your idea has to be killer.
You need to write something about which you’re passionate, something that gets you up in the morning, draws you to the keyboard, and keeps you there. It should excite not only you, but also anyone you tell about it.
If you’ve tried and failed to finish your book before—maybe more than once—it could be that the basic premise was flawed. Maybe it was worth a blog post or an article but couldn’t carry an entire book.
Think The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or How to Win Friends and Influence People. The market is crowded, the competition fierce. There’s no more room for run-of-the-mill ideas. Your premise alone should make readers salivate.
Go for the big concept book.
How do you know you’ve got a winner? Does it have legs? In other words, does it stay in your mind, growing and developing every time you think of it?
Run it past loved ones and others you trust.
Does it raise eyebrows? Elicit Wows? Or does it result in awkward silences?
The right concept simply works, and you’ll know it when you land on it. Most importantly, your idea must capture you in such a way that you’re compelled to write it. Otherwise you’ll lose interest halfway through and never finish.
From Marlene: Are you getting the idea that Jerry Jenkin’s article is a complete guide to writing a book?
It’s worth a click: How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps.