Have you ever considered writing a book? It is a “bucket list” thing for you, or would you never think to do it because the task seems to tall? Not to worry. I am here to make your first steps into authorship significantly easier (and slightly less scary).
Here are three things I wish I knew earlier in my writing career:
1) If you want to be a great writer, be a great reader.
While this tip might seem intuitive, it might not be for the reasons you assume. If you are considering writing your first book, I’d imagine you are somewhat of a reader already. That is to be expected. But I encourage you to become a great reader not simply for enjoyment, but rather, for study. If you want to be a great writer, you must read great writing. If you write something awesome, how else would you know it? Just imagine if the top-level athletes or world-class musicians didn’t study what their peers are doing? Athletes watch film. Musicians turn to great tracks for inspiration.
It should be the same with us.
As you take your first steps in this writing journey, I encourage you to broaden your reading horizons as well. Have you lived in the non-fiction section for all of your life? Next time, try a novel. Are you eight books deep into the same romantic series? Try reading Anna Karenina or some other classic.
2) If you want to create your first book, create your first system.
As I’ve continued my work with Brand Builders Group, I’ve been amazed how intimidated people are at the thought of writing a book. I don’t know where to start! The dreaded blank page! This fear is unwarranted, and easily dispelled.
If you look at the nonfiction books on your shelves (or, if you’re the rom-com reader, you can imagine one!) you’ll notice a common theme. All of these books are structured the same way—introduction, system, conclusion. That’s it!
Here’s what I’m going to say, here’s what I’m saying, here’s what I said.
The first step to writing your book is not page one, but rather, system one. What do you believe? What do you want the reader to know? Bullet point that. There are your five, seven, or twelve body chapters.
As someone who has written and completed a book, I can speak to how difficult it is. But while it is very difficult, it is also very fulfilling. Life-changing, even.
A writing mentor of mine once told me, “Bob, even if nobody ever reads this book, you have to write it for your kids, your grandkids, and the generations after. If you have something to say, you have to share it. If you choose to do this difficult thing, you can literally impact your family forever.”
I want the same for you.
Don’t worry about making your first draft perfect, just write the first draft.
Let your first goal be this: I will write a bad book.
Let your first draft be ugly, sloppy, painful, and frustrating. But let it be done. Enjoy and appreciate that incredible accomplishment. Tell your friends, family, and support group. Celebrate with those that you love!
And then sit back down at the desk.
You can do this.