If you haven’t had a lot of experience with writing you might ditch the whole ‘write a book’ idea because you lack the confidence. But just like training for a marathon, it’s about making a plan, improving your skills and practicing. The more you do it, the better you get.
Let’s break that down into three parts and see where it goes.
Make a plan
I covered this a little in my last blog in terms of planning an outline of a book. This is simply a matter of brainstorming what content you’d like to have in your book. Obviously fiction and non-fiction will be a little different but the basic concept will still work. All you need is an outline, something to work towards. Don’t be married to this being the final structure.
- For fiction, it might be the plot points that move the story forward, starting with a crisis or inciting incident, and finishing with a satisfying conclusion.
- For memoir, you might plot out the events that fit into the time that you want to cover in your story. It could be a year, ten years or twenty.
- For a self-help book you might plan out chapters that cover the steps for your reader to help them with XYZ.
Improve your skills
There are several ways to do this.
- Read a lot. By reading you learn about structure, writing style, grammar and what makes a good story. I can’t emphasise this enough. I’ve had people participate in my writing workshops who’ll brag about never reading and it has shown when they read out their work.
- Book into a workshop. It might feel scary when you’re a novice but we all have to start somewhere. Feel the fear and plunge in. What have you got to lose? Writing workshops will give you many tools and rules around writing. It doesn’t mean you have to stick to them. In fact, once you become experienced, you’ll find that you have the skills and confidence to break the rules and experiment a little, which can be exciting and sometimes ground breaking.
- Join a writing group. Again, this might terrify you. But the sooner you start sharing your writing with like-minded people, the sooner you will improve your writing by the bucket-loads. If you don’t do this, you will be forever second-guessing yourself about your skills or worse, thinking you are the next Ernest Hemingway.
With baby steps, you can improve your writing confidence.
- Be consistent. So many people stop and start with their writing. This means that they don’t really get momentum behind them and it can feel like an eternity to get something finished. Write often and treat it like training.
- Stop talking about it. There are a lot of tire-kicking writers out there. Does it seem to you that everyone is writing a book? They might be dabbling in it or they may have written a paragraph or two but that’s as far as they’ve gotten. Sit down and write.
- Stop being perfect. We’d all like to write perfect prose. That perfect sentence. Touch everyone’s heart. Change the world. Take a look at the books on your bookshelf. Each one of them has been written and rewritten, the author laboured over sentences, then an editor has whipped it into shape. No piece of writing is gold in the first draft.
You may not write like JK Rowling, Ernest Hemingway or Paulo Coelho but you can learn to find your own voice simply by doing it. And you can learn to tell the story or stories that you want to. Those things that you are holding deep in your heart. Want to write a book?Just do it!
If you need help, we have it at Busybird Publishing, of course. We can help you write a book, publish a book and sell your book.
Blaise, the book chick.