Seeking tips for writing your first book? We’ve got you covered!
The new year is here and, if you’re like millions of other people, you may have made a resolution or two about the goals you would like to attain this year. And you know what goal tends to make its rounds this time of year? “This is it. This is the year I will finally write that book I’ve always wanted to write.”
So if you’re one of the people who made the resolution of writing your first book and you’re new to the writing game, welcome! Writing can be an exhilarating hobby and even more fun if you choose to pursue it as a career. But where do you start? Here to help you are 5 tips for new writers.
1) Just write.
So you want to write? Then do it! The very best way to get started in writing is to get your pen-in-hand, butt-in-chair, and WRITE. Seriously. Depending on where you personally find writers congregating (conferences, social media, bookstores, etc.), you’ll probably hear some writerly type individuals waxing poetically about how hard it is to write, how they’re waiting for “the muse”, what they’re planning to write (but not actually writing).
But if you really want to be a writer, there is no magical formula to making the words flow. Somedays, you may be more inspired than others. But a real writer still shows up to write, regardless of the inspiration. So do it. You can always edit your uninspired word-garbage later, if necessary. You can’t edit if you have nothing on the page.
2) Write from the heart.
Want to write the next GALATEA Best Seller?
Don’t we all.
But trying to write a “brilliant book” that is going to be a runaway bestseller is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. So instead, my humble suggestion is to write what moves you, what inspires you, what makes you laugh, what you love to read, what you love to write. In other words—write from the heart.
If you write from the heart, you’ll find yourself a lot less likely to burn out. You’ll also find yourself willing to work hard to get that book you love so much in the hands of readers.
3) Find a community.
One of the worst problems that writers have is that they tend to thrive in isolation but desperately need the community of writers. Yes, you heard me right. Writers really do need other writers. Why? Other writers can help you in countless ways: from giving you much needed information on pursuing publication, to helping you with craft, or giving you editorial blurbs or critiques. Some of the most famous writers of the 20th century even hung out.
Find your community. Be it online or in a local writing group or through conferences or a community college—take the time to find other *like-minded* writers to help you on your writing journey.
4) Evaluate your new priorities.
If you’re dying to write but just can’t seem to find a way to get the work done, it may be time to evaluate your priorities. Usually, if we look closely enough at our daily schedules, we can find the time to do the things we really want to do. This may mean watching less TV in the evenings or getting up early in the morning to write before work or your children wake up. Jane Friedman recommends making a “stop doing” list.
If writing your first book truly is a priority to you, you can find a way to make it happen.
5) Study the craft.
You’ll get all sorts of advice from writers on how to write but there’s nothing I believe more firmly than this: if you’re a writer, you should study the craft of writing. Writing is a time-honored craft and skill. Sure, anyone can tell a story. But telling it well, on the other hand—that takes more than talent. That takes skill and practice. The very best way to hone that skill is to study the craft of writing, constantly. Invest in yourself as a writer and take courses or read books. Make it your goal to have your next book be better than your last.
Not only will this help you find readers, but it will also make writing easier. When you learn to craft better, you’ll waste less time on each draft. You’ll need to edit less. You’ll use stronger verbs or write better descriptions.
So there you have it. My top five tips for writing your first book. And remember—writing will always have its days of ups and downs, but if you stick with it, you can create that book you’ve dreamed about. Good luck!