How to Write a Book – Part One

How to Write a Book

Ideas, the formulation and setting goals

Firstly before you can do anything you obviously need an idea, whether that be for a short story or an epic novel. Ideas can come from all over the place and can be taken from your everyday experiences; quite literally anything you have witnessed or done can be fruitful in terms of inspiration. It doesn’t matter what genre you want to write in either, you can take the ideas and craft them into the little gems that suit you best.

Once you have your ideas the next step is to formulate them into some semblance of order.  This is a process that will differ from person to person and, interestingly enough, this is where I came unstuck for many years.  It is important that you use a formula that works best for you and to illustrate this I’ll explain my initial difficulty in this area.

A conventional way to collate ideas and to plan a process is to write them down onto paper; this clearly makes sense and will more than likely help you in generating further inspiration and pathway’s to take your story upon.  However, it did not work for me and I now realise it actually frustrated my creativeness.  The way I work now is to leave the ideas in my head to develop and grow.  Imagine that each idea is floating around inside of your head, every so often bumping into one another.  If they work well and one compliments the other, then they stick.  If not then they just bounce away to continue floating.  Once I have a group of ideas that work (like a complete strand of DNA) I then begin to write.  I very rarely write ideas down anymore.

Some may disagree and think that this is a bizarre method and could result in you losing ideas, but the point I’m trying to make is that there is no right or wrong way.  You have to find what works best for you and don’t do it in a certain way because that’s how everyone else does it.

Once your pen is on paper (or more often than not these days when your fingers hit the keyboard) you’re under way.  It’s as important a process as any and if you never begin how can you ever hope to finish?

Lastly, I’ve also learnt that is vitally important is to set yourself goals.  This may sound obvious but it wasn’t something I really considered until I read an interesting article on the excellent Creative Penn website.  I have now come to appreciate the benefits of setting targets and although you should make sure that they are achievable and realistic, it is good to be stretched and challenged.  These goals can be anything from setting a word count target for each sitting, to selecting a date when you want your work to be completed by.

Have a think about your idea development process.  Is there any way that you could improve upon it and make it work better for you?  Also, if you don’t have any goals for your writing, then why not set yourself some now; it will feel so much more rewarding when you hit those targets and will give your work efforts much more impetus.

In Part Two of ‘How to Write a Book’ we will be looking at when to begin writing and how to break through those brick walls.


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