As a writer, I’m sure you already know that writing has what it takes to impact every aspect of people’s lives. If you want to pass information, write. If you want to change people’s mindset and beliefs, write. If you want to promote your business or sell your products and services, write.
Writing is more powerful in our world today, all thanks to the internet and social media. But writing a book is way more powerful, as people see you differently from those who only have social media/blog posts.
In case you think becoming an author is quite rigorous, it is and it isn’t. However becoming an author determines if you want to change lives and groom millions of people.
So you want to write a book? Embrace it. But you must know that writing a book is easier to start by thinking/talking about the idea, than actually putting it down in writing. Truth be told, writing is no piece of cake. Sometimes your writing may bore you, the message might not sound interesting to your ears, and you may be so overwhelmed with it that you might want to quit.
But if you knew;
- Where to start from,
- What each step entails,
- Why you really need to write the book,
- How to boost your creativity,
- How to overcome fears, consistent procrastination,
- And more importantly how to overcome writer’s block, and how to stop feeling overwhelmed with writing, then you would be able to do this!
If you can get these writing issues solved, only then would you be able to author that book you’ve been thinking about.
All of the key tips I’ll be sharing in this write up, I have used over and over again. And each time, they have worked wonderfully.
So let’s look at these tips in bits and understand them.
1. Map out your writing space.
2. Be familiar with your writing tools.
3. Organize and know your BIG idea.
4. Divide the project into bits and pieces.
5. Construct your work outline/plan.
1. Map Out Your Writing Space.
When I started my writing career, I started on my cushion chair, then sometimes on my bed; in a lying or sitting position, or at the verandah. Sometimes I write in a public bus, or the saloon, or a reception area while waiting for someone.
Just the other day, I came across a photo one writer posted. She was sitting in her car and typing away on her laptop. She wrote in the caption that she preferred writing in her car for personal reasons and as at the time of the post, she had just completed 3000 words of writing.
So to write a book, you don’t need an expanse of space. You just need to know that you can write anywhere you find yourself. But if you’re not like me, then sure, a nice, private and more serene environment could make up your writing lair/office. You can dedicate a room in your house solely for the purpose of writing, or a part of your own room.
I’ve met writers who preferred to write in restaurants, malls and even hospital waiting rooms.
However, you should bear in mind that REAL WRITERS WRITE FROM ANYWHERE. You should not feel like writing in a particular place before you do so.
For example. What if you go to a restaurant and something happens right in there that you feel, if added to your story, would give it a lift? Will you wait till you get to your writing space before you put it down in writing ? If yes, please remember that the details you’ll get of the event while it’s happening in front of you and all parties involved are still present, would be better and clearer, than when you get home an hour or two later to start writing.
Writing isn’t only when you’re writing a full story. It is also taking down notes of the events happening around you, so you can later infuse it into your main book.
All the same, whatever space you decide to use, it is better to write in a straight-backed chair or a laptop table that helps you keep your back straight, so as to be proactive and maintain a healthy posture and spine. If you ask me, I’ll say apart from your writing location, invest wisely in chairs and tables.
2. Be Familiar With Your Writing Tools.
Gone are the days where as a writer, you handwrite stuff before typing it on the computer. It kind of wastes time and kills my morale when I have to start typing everything I’ve written all over again. And I’m sure some of you feel the same way.
Till date though, some authors handwrite their work before transferring it to the system, or they would handwrite it and then pay a typist to type their handwritten work.
However, it is best to always have your digital writing tools. These tools include a laptop. If you do not have a laptop, you can start with your phone.
I started writing with my small laptop (the first I ever had. It was a gift from my younger brother). When that laptop packed up, I continued with my phone. More than half of my novels, novellas and blog posts were written on phone. And I continued that way until I got another laptop.
Other tools you need are:
Google Docs: With Google Docs, nothing can go wrong. Everything you write and save on the internet, be it through a laptop or phone, remains saved. Even if your devices crash, you lose nothing, because when you get a new one and log into your Gmail account, you have access to Goodle Docs, and therefore all your documents.
Several times in the past I have lost my personal projects and even client projects due to system errors and so on. It’s painful you know. The last one was a 10,000-word edit I did for a client. My device chose to crash the very day I was to send it in. A job I used 3 days to do, I rushed to finish in one day, so I wouldn’t give excuses.
Well, the rushed work wasn’t as clean as the lost one. The author wasn’t in a hurry to collect the work, so I quickly took advantage of that and spent another one day brushing it up.
I’m happy to say, that was the last time I wrote or edited anything outside of Google Docs. Despite issues I’ve had with my devices since I stuck with Google Docs, I’m still able to access all my documents.
Grammarly: I don’t hit publish on blog posts, or agree that I’m done writing a book if I don’t run it through Grammarl first.
Grammarly helps spot errors in your written works and suggests possible corrections you can use. The good news is, it is available for Chrome. In other words, you can sync it with your laptop Chrome browser. So when you’re working with Google Docs or writing even an email on your laptop with Chrome browser, you still get corrections for your work. Please know that you can also use it for plagiarism check.
These tools listed above, I don’t joke with. They’re the two major tools I use as far as book/article writing and editing is concerned.
Other tools that can aid your work are
- Pro Writing Aid
- Microsoft Word
- WPS (for smartphones)
- Aqua Notes (for those who would love to take notes in the rain, shower, or swimming pool) etc.
One other thing is to try as much as possible to have all the tools you need, within reach. For me, all my writing tools are installed both in my phone, tablet and laptop. If one device runs out of battery, the work continues with the next device while the other charges.
3. Divide the Project into Bits and Pieces.
There is an old adage that says, ‘the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time’. This is the same when writing a book. You can’t write it all at once. You have to break it down into subtopics and chapters.
For example, you want to write a novel or novellas or a nonfiction series. You definitely can’t plan to write all of them at the same time. You had to divide it into the number of series you want. Calculate the time frame you will need to start and finish the first part of the series, as well as the other parts of the series.
If you’re planning to write a three-part series all at once, just know already, you’ll be overwhelmed and might drop the project, or take a longer time to write it. So once again, divide your project and take on it piece by piece. I’ve used this to write
Susan’s Diary, Trapped, and a lot of other books. Right now, I’m using this method to write, “Faith Weds Not Grace. And this story is going to be a 3 part story. Part 2 is ready already.
4. Organize and Know Your BIG Idea.
Your big idea is the idea you have for your book. However, some ideas start on a slow and boring note. While some start at a fast pace and has the ability to hook even you, the author.
But then, not all fast-paced novels are written as the idea first came. It is tweaked seriously to be able to hook a first time reader.
So having an idea is one thing. Making it captivating is another. This is where story cards or boards, can be used to help build your idea from conception to captivating.
Organizing your idea is very necessary, even before your book outline is done. It is simply a case of swapping cards and looking through what would/could happen if so and so started the story, and what happens later in the story.
This activity helps to activate the creative side of your brain. And I’m very sure it is the reason why the Writer’s Tool Box was created. The card and sticks in it boost creativity and when you’re done with it, your idea can’t be as it was when you first conceived it.
So if you’ve tried to finish your book and you just couldn’t, Then think about why it makes you too wary to complete. If your idea is not something that could make a reader salivate then you need to revisit your big idea, as well as your story cards. Preferably, the Writer’s Tool Box.
5. Construct Your Work Outline/Plan
When I wrote my early books, I didn’t have a clear vision of where I wanted the story to go. And guess what? The book ended in disaster. It was when I learnt to plan and arrange my big idea, and then outline the idea by breaking it down into subheading and chapters and filling these chapters with ideas from my story card, that I started to improvement in my written works, from start to finish.
Outlining your idea means dividing it into chapters, paragraphs and even subheadings. It is all these that form the great number of words or pages that would make up your book. Also, it helps you finish your work faster
Now even If you are writing a fiction story, you would need an outline; at least a standard structure. Simply using your story cards or The Writer’s Tool Box, would help you map out a compelling outline that would lead to a compelling story.
If you are writing nonfiction, probably a motivational Book or something like that, you can’t escape constructing an outline. Neither can you escape using story card or boards.
If you are writing a book and you suddenly lose interest, then you most likely didn’t start with exciting ideas. And that is why the idea and outline is necessary. Besides, if you leave a book without writing for 2 days or a week, when you decide to go back to writing, it is easier to refer back to your outline and storyboard/cards, to guide you through.
What separates a great Author from an aspiring author? It is the ability to list their plot twist and developments, and arrange them in an order that attracts your readers.
What separates great nonfiction from mediocre? The same thing. Structure! Arrange your points, characters, cliffhangers in a way that keeps your readers hooked.
If you have any questions, please drop it in the comments section, and I’ll be glad to respond.