January 31, 2015

How To Start Writing A Book

Why Write A Book?

I have always wanted to write a book. I love books! It's great having full book shelves in a home as it kind of a barometer of intelligence. When visitors come the book shelves act like a magnet for their curiosity. I know the electronic age is slowly getting rid of the paper book but a book is a book is a book no matter what form it comes in. Just a side note: remember, you oldies, when your LP collection gave you a sense of visual pride, they it was lessened by your CD collection. How on earth can your collection of mp3 files on you iPod excite you in the same way. It goes the same with books – book shelves full of books is your knowledge badge of honour but alas a folder full of Kindle files or e-books does nothing to excite, puff your chest or boost ego.

Writing a book maybe driven by ego – look at me I'm so clever – but more importantly two outcomes happen that are far better that boosting ones self opinion. One, you consolidate your own knowledge, experience and expertise in an organised way (yes you improve almost automatically) and two, the credibility attached to writing a book is huge. People are impressed, want to talk to you and respect your opinion because you have proof you know what you are on about. This may be a perception but as we know what people perceive is what they believe. You are also held in high regard because writing a book for most people (including me) is a huge challenge and commitment and following through and "doing the do" is the key to any kind of success.

There is a book inside all of us but very few people are prepared to do the hard work involved. I once read somewhere that "to love to do something is nonsense unless you are doing it!" (Because my memory is so bad I'm making that quote my own:) I'm focusing more on non-fiction books here but I think the exercise can apply to fiction books as well.

7 Ways To Start Writing A Book

1. Getting started. It takes on average 60,000 words to write a 200 page book (minus indexing, contents etc) – 300 words per page. This of course depends on page size, layout and font size but I use this as a guide after having counted the amount of words per page from a few different books.

2. Drink some discipline and set small achievable goals – my goal is 600 words per day – no excuses. Most of the time it's more in case I have what I call a "dry day". I simply have drawn a blank and I need a break. BUT!!! I had better done enough words to cover that day. 600 words should take about 90 minutes to 2 hrs but you may be faster than me.

3. Celebrate with someone every time you hit 20 pages – sharing a coffee or eating cake or dancing naked in the rain with your special friend is fine. Reward your good behaviour as it is extremely motivating.

4. Feed your brain EVERYDAY! I have found listening to audio books on all facets of business a great use of my time whilst traveling as well as helping contribute ideas to my book – a constant education juices the brain.

5. Get organised – I use a great piece of book writing software called Schivener (and no I'm not getting paid in any way from these guys) but I have to say it's brilliant. You can layout your book into chapters, store resources like references, articles and all sorts of files and they are all kept in the one place. It's a good idea to use this kind of software as it's hard to keep track of 20 pages let alone two hundred. This software is only $45US and is for Mac & PC – formatting is a little primitive but do that at the end as Schivener has a complete compiling feature that I'm yet to utilise.

"A scrivener (or scribe) was traditionally a person who could read and write. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and history records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. Scriveners later developed into public servants, accountants, lawyers and petition writers."  Wikipedia

6. Start the layout of your book early, even if this changes later on. Get your chapters listed with working titles and if you draw a blank you can fill in future chapters with notes and ideas. In fact you don't have to write your book in any order.

7. WRITE!!! – the hardest part of the deal is doing the writing but you must write, you have to write, just keep on friggin writing. Editing is easier but getting your knowledge down is tedious, time consuming and tiring. But so is exercise and eating fresh vegetables and staying healthy. Stay committed and you will be richly rewarded. You will get your book. Don't spend too much time in the beginning editing your book get it all down first, find your rhythm and just WRITE!!

I've started writing my book – by the time you read this post I will probably be half the way through but I will do a Part 2 to describe the journey. Get the book inside you out, start writing right now:)

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