I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so I set the goal of writing books. The first book I wrote was autobiographical, so it didn’t take much planning and flowed out of my mind and onto the paper easily.
A few years later, I decided to write another book, but by that time, I had more responsibilities and less time than before. One night, I had an idea, I’d write out all my thoughts, and then I’d sort that out and turn it into a book. After a couple of hours, I had a list and what felt like a solid plan.
Here are 4 steps that helped me write a book.
4 Steps To Writing A Book
As a result of these experiences, I came up with 4 steps to writing a book. But these steps can be used to accomplish any goal. Using this process, I was able to write a whole non-fiction book in less than two months.
I have since used these same steps to plan out and write a fictional novel. Again, getting a clear plan helped me focus on writing and getting more things done, rather than sorting things out along the way.
The four steps are, Keep it simple, Use Paper Checklists, make writing a routine, and write the clearest parts first. These steps should help get any writing project done quickly.
1) Keep It Simple
A novel is a series of short stories that come together to create one big story. This process works because of this understanding of the structure of any work of writing. If you focus on the whole book or the entire story initially, it will seem too complicated and impossible to finish.
Huge and complicated ideas are daunting and challenging to get down on paper. Even worse, if the challenge seems too great, you will feel discouraged. Feeling discouraged makes it more challenging to make progress, and you might be tempted to give up.
The best way to avoid this is to break your massive story into smaller, more manageable pieces.
When you are thinking about what you want to write, write down each part or short story of your larger story in a list. If a single story ends up feeling too big, you can break it down into smaller pieces. Use each of these shorter stories as a separate item on the list.
As you build up your list, you might even notice that you have parts missing that need to be filled in.
You may also see that parts of the story don’t fit in or need to be moved to another place in the big story to make the most sense.
The simpler each story is, the easier it will be when it comes to writing everything out. Overall, it will make it easier to write each chapter, and when you see progress, it will make you more likely to finish what you have started.
If you are having trouble finishing a book, the first step is to focus on keeping things as simple as possible.
2) Paper Checklists
Checklists are a simple and often overlooked tool for planning a book or anything that needs some focused attention. Checklists are an indispensable tool to help get your story finished. They are also a great motivating tool that shows you your progress.
The best way to use a checklist is with paper and pencil.
The possibility of using a phone or computer app seems promising, but the physical paper is always superior. With paper, your checklist will still be in front of you. This means you won’t get distracted by your phone, computer or internet when you look at your list.
As we talked about in the first step, it is crucial to think about every major event or story in your book. Once you have that written down or in your mind, try to write one clear sentence describing the main events.
Once you have that down, you might want to add more details, so you don’t want to work them out later. One of the reasons it is essential to use a pencil is that you might want to change things up once you get started as the story might change as you move along.
Having your checklist on paper makes it a little more challenging to reorganize your stories.
But if that will help with the flow, it is worth the effort. It might also be helpful to separate your stories into sections. You might find that one of your smaller stories is much larger and could turn into many stories.
Keep in mind that you can keep track of the different parts of your story with lists. You want to focus as much of your energy on the parts rather than the whole. As you write, if you have a plan, you will fill in the missing details if you have a good plan.
Another benefit of a checklist is that you get to check it off the list every time you finish a story.
This may seem insignificant, but it gives you a feeling of satisfaction and encourages you to write more. The feelings of accomplishment and motivation compensate for the extra time you took to make a list in the first place.
When you are having trouble finishing anything, it helps create a checklist and stick to it.
3) Make Writing A Routine
Rather than focusing on every single story and putting specific time aside for it, it is much better to make your writing a routine. A routine means dedicating regular time to focused work on your book.
An ideal plan would be to set time aside every day or during the workweek. With this time, try to work on one of your stories during each session. What I did was set a daily goal of completing one story with each writing session. I was strict with myself, so I would sit and write until I was satisfied with my finished work.
The importance of a routine is that it forces you to put time into your project every day, rather than waiting for a stroke of motivation.
Often we feel like we need to have a particular reason to get something done. But if we make it a part of our routine, we don’t need to worry about motivation because we will know it is work time when we sit down.
If you get your book or novel completed earlier than planned, you can use your routine scheduled time for something else. A routine also helps because you train yourself to get satisfaction from the process rather than the completion of something.
If your only goal is to finish, then you won’t have a reason to write again once you are done. If you are having trouble finishing something, you need to make sure getting it done is a part of your routine.
4) Clearest Stories First
At first, focus on the stories that are already completed in your head. If you already know them, they will come out more easily. It is helpful to get them out because you won’t need to think about them anymore. It will also give you a chance to see what you actually have and where you need to fill in some gaps.
Once you have written down what you have, you might realize the need to reorganize what you’ve got.
You may also want to add new stories or change the order of the existing ones to make the story come together better. This is another reason why a pencil is best, because you can erase and rewrite your checklist as needed.
Getting the most important stories done first is also a great way to get yourself in the mindset of success. When you see progress with these stories, you will be motivated to do more.
When you are having trouble finishing a book, it is important to focus on writing the story’s clearest parts first.
If you want to finish your book or be more productive, you need a system in place. The 4 steps to writing a book outlined above should give you a good starting point. But you may need to tweak these steps or add to the process to find out what works best for you.
It is very satisfying to finish writing a book, and once you have a good process, you will be able to write more. With each attempt at writing a book, you will improve your process and become a better writer in the long run.
Have you ever tried writing a book? What helped you get it done? What would you do differently if he had to try again?