‘So how do you start writing a book?’

As an author, this might be the most common question I’m asked, usually by people who have been thinking about writing a book and, you guessed it, have no idea how or where to start.

Well, firstly, I’ve been there (as anyone who has ever written a book has) so I get how debilitating this question can be. But having written a few books now, I’ve now figured out how to reduce the amount of time spent pondering this question, because let’s face it, as long as you’re figuring out the answer to this question, you’re not writing. And to write a book, you have to write. 

So, to help you along, I’m going to give you THREE very simple steps I take every time I’m about to start writing a book. I recommend you take them to and avoid anymore procrastinating (yes, I’ve been there too!) As the saying goes, why put off until tomorrow, what you can start today. 

Step 1 - Make the decision (and then declare it!): Before you can start something, you have to decide you’re going to do it. Most people talk about how they’d like to write a book, or they’ve got a story that would make a great read but to say ‘I’ve decided to write a book’ takes a lot more guts, and even more guts to declare it to another person. So, if you want to write a book and you’re genuinely willing to put the time and effort into doing so, then consciously make the decision and then declare it out loud. Firstly to yourself and then to another (ideally someone you trust and who you trust will react enthusiastically.’ 

You can even start right now. Repeat after me: I’ve decided to write a book

 Well done! Congratulations. You’re already on your way. 

 Step 2 - Set a daily writing goal (and commit to it!): This step will depend entirely on the kind of life you lead and the number of responsibilities you currently have. But if you’re going to write a book, then it does help to start with a daily goal. This can be an amount of time. Or it can be an amount of words. Personally, I prefer to work to a word count, and I have a goal of 500 words per day of new words. This is what works for me, but I can also adjust depending on what I have going on in my life. 

So, figure out what is realistic for you and set the intention to meet that goal every day. Also, decide how many days you intend to write per week. Do you want to write every day or have a day off? Do you prefer to write at a set time every day or would you prefer to have the intention that you’ll get your writing done within each 24-hour period?  

Write your goal down and then put it in your calendar. Create an appointment with yourself and stick to it as you would with any other important meeting.  

 Step 3 - Start writing. Keep writing: It might feel like you’re jumping into an abyss, but you’re never going to write that book without doing the work. And the work is the writing. If you’re not sure where to start writing, just start somewhere. Writing a book doesn’t have to happen in linear order, and often it doesn’t. Your first draft is unlikely to end up being your final draft. Also, writing and editing require the use of different parts of the brain so when I’m writing, I’m not editing. You’ll have plenty of time to edit, revise and rewrite later. Just start by getting the story down on paper, and you can figure the rest out later. 

Just remember, the hardest part is getting started.

Good luck and feel free to email me and let me know how you go!

Hedley x