Today’s Question: I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I don’t know where to begin. Do you have any tips?
Yes, so many tips! I don’t want to overwhelm you with my enthusiasm, but my very first piece of advice is …
Just do it!
As the Nike commercial encourages, just do it. Don’t overthink. Whether writing a book is on your bucket list, or you’re seriously thinking about a career in writing, you have to do more than think about it. You have to actually do it. This doesn’t mean you will do it well the first time, and that’s okay. If there’s a story swirling in your head, your first step is simply to get it onto paper.
A good way to start ‘doing’ is to create new habits around writing. That means carving out time for your writing, and disciplining yourself to write when it’s time to write. For some of us, this means writing every day. But for many people, that just isn’t realistic. Instead, determine what kind of writing rhythm works in your life, and then protect that time. If finishing your novel or short story is truly a priority, you have to commit to a regular practice. Here’s more: Top Tips to Establish Good Writing Habits.
There is value in going through the process of drafting a manuscript from start to finish, even if this particular manuscript never sees the light of day. Here are a few reasons why:
- An unfinished draft will never become a book. Seriously, it will always just be an incomplete idea.
- You’ll learn to write even when you don’t feel like it. Every writer faces moments when the words won’t flow, or when we simply don’t feel like doing the work. We have to have the wherewithal to do it anyway.
- Once you’ve completed a project, you’ll know what it takes, and you’ll know you have what it takes.
- You’ll learn to get through the sticky middle. Writing the beginning of a story is exciting. Making it to the end feels liberating. But the middle can sometimes get pretty sticky. Once you’ve made it through the middle, which can sometimes feel like getting lost in the forest without that breadcrumb trail again, you’ll know how to do it. Maybe not elegantly, maybe not as skillfully as you will a few years and a few more novels from now, but you’ll have done it, and there’s value in the experience alone.
You will learn to write better.
You may not be confident in your actual writing skills yet, but you will improve. Yes, storytelling comes easier to some than others, but you can learn the nuts and bolts of good writing craft. This blog, for example, is an excellent resource! There are also writer’s workshops and conferences you can attend virtually and in-person (when that’s allowed again). While most do charge a fee, it’s much less expensive than enrolling in a class. Although, a writing class is great if you have the time and funds.
Keep reading, too, but while you’re reading, pay more attention to the techniques your favorite author is using. What keeps you turning the page? Some of your critical reading skills can be repurposed to improve your writing. Here’s more on why reading makes you a better writer: How to Read Like a Writer. But, at the end of the day, one of the best ways to improve as a writer is to write!
Become part of a writing community.
Writing may be a solitary venture, but the writing community is vibrant and supportive. As with anything, it’s good to have a group of people who understand your experience. Whether you join a local critique group, or jump on Twitter for a writing sprint with the #5amwritersclub, knowing you are not alone in this venture can be a lifesaver.
Use the Inkitt platform!
There are so many good reasons to use the Inkitt platform. For starters, you will automatically become part of a writing community, and you’ll be able to interact with readers right away. For more on how the platform works and why you should check it out, read on: How Does Inkitt Work? and Why Should I Use the Inkitt Platform?
I hope I’ve convinced to you to sit down at your keyboard and get started!
Do you have a question for us? We invite you to ‘ask Inkitt’ via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post answers to the most frequently asked questions every Thursday right here on the Inkitt Writer’s Blog.
Interested in learning more about how to succeed as an author on Inkitt?
Check out our last few Ask Inkitt articles, for insider tips, secrets and advice.