Although it might look easy, writing books isn’t a stroll in the park. You don’t just pick up a pen or a computer and voila, a book appears. If you don’t how to write a book but are writing because you feel anyone can write because they were inspired. You might get a few lines, a page or even a chapter then the well dries up.
Many quit when the words flee. And they would crumble the paper or control delete all their typed works. I have been here many times and you might have too. If you are reading this post and you want to try again, congrats. I admire your resilience.
How to write like anything else can be learnt. It is just one step to another, building your tenacity and will power until you get to your destination.
The Steps Of Writing
All written books take these three steps. Simple as it seem, it is always these three steps.
1. The Start
The beginning is the hardest part. You have an idea, you pick a pen and scribble the first words then you run out. You groan, you pull at your hair, you huff and puff but nothing comes. The beginning is the rock of how to write a book and it is frustrating when you can’t just do what you intended to.
2. Mid Point
Even worse than the beginning is writing the middle of your book. Imagine you writing a 30 chapter book and you have just completed chapter fifteen. Now the self doubt has set in bringing in his other brothers; obstacles, writers block, frustration and criticism. If you are not strong and stay motivated you will abandon the project. A word of caution, most abandoned project are mostly not revisited.
I have experienced the joy of finishing a book and I must say finishing is the true test of a writer. No one cares to read a book that you don’t finish. They want the finished product and they care about how your story ended too. I’ve read really good books with very bad endings. A bad ending would dent you and your book’s reputation and readers might even stay away from your future books. Your ending is golden, don’t dare disappoint.
Now here we are. You are just at the brink of writing.
There are still some questions you need to answer before you start.
What Kind Of Book Do You Want To Write?
Like movies, books fall into different genre. Decide which genre the book will be, that’s the beginning. Popular genres include, romance, sci fi, fantasy, adventure, action, fiction, non fiction, self help or inspirational, historical fiction to name a few. Or you can create your own genre, who knows how creative you are!
Decide On What To Write
Every book is about something, decide what your book is going to be about. Is it racism or god fatherism in modern politics. Are you lending your voice to stop human trafficking or talking about the horrors of the first world war.
Your book must just be about something. This is the theme.
Yes it can have more than one theme. My latest book One Starry Night discussed solely the possibility of another Nigerian civil war in the nearest future but also discuss the trials facing inter ethnic relationships.
My new book Pandora will be focussing on how Lagos can deal with the fictitious but deadly bovine pox while digressing to address the gap in between the rich and the poor and the stigma of adopting a child in the country.
Your book should address a particular issue, it’s better if it is a real issue (that really depends on your kind of book though. You might not have a real issue, if it’s Sci Fi). Your choice.
Set How Long You Will Write
Since it is practically impossible to finish a book in a day, you must set out how many words you will be writing per day. It might be 300 words (about a page) or 600 (two pages).
I write about 2500 words per day. You must start from a lower number though. You don’t want to erode your drive on the first few days. This will happen when you aim at an unrealistic number.
No matter how dogged you are, you cannot finish a 400 page masterpiece in a few days. Write a few hundred words as a start, you can scale up as you want, building momentum.
Write At The Same Time On Writing Days
Discipline is required to finish a book. In fact, discipline is everything. Discipline can only be achieved by consistency. By being consistent, you can achieve you aim faster and more efficiently.
You must set a time to write, be strict with this time, nothing must stop you from writing. No idle talk, no busy schedule, no “something came up” should stop you from writing.
Don’t let yourself off the hook. When its writing time, don’t think. Pick up your pen or switch on the computer and create magic. No one can enact this discipline in you, it is something you must do for yourself.
Get A Place To Write
A quite place will do. You can listen to your thoughts there. Write in the same place everyday, this gets you in the writing mood every time you get there.
It might be a lonely desk in the attic or a table in the basement or even under the almond tree in the garden. Pick any slot that is suitable. As I type, I am sitting on my desk in my study. This is where I type on writing days.
Now You Can Start
Now you know how to write a book and you’ve decided what, when and where we will be writing, what is next to do is to write. Wear your cape and let’s fly to the story land.