A lot of potential writers don’t get through writing their first book. But I’m sure you already know that and you are here so that you won’t be one of them.
When people get comfortable writing a story of their own, the first thing they do is search “how to write a book” or something along the line. Because you can’t just decide you want to write and start the next day with no research. Or maybe you can, but it surely isn’t a wise decision.
To write your first book, the first thing you need to do is think of yourself as a writer. Now I know it’s difficult, especially if you are not published or don’t have a profound name for your writing. But to start with your first book, you need to think like a person who knows what they want.
Do you want to be a writer? Be a writer in your mind and soul. But that’s just a tiny step towards it.
To not overwhelm you, I’m breaking everything in steps, so let’s go through them one by one.
1. Make A Time Slot For Writing
The most common mistake new writers make is not preparing their schedule first hand. They have every tool ready to start their first book, have their story planned, but they never get past the first chapter.
Why? Cause they never have time to sit peacefully and start working on that first book. To avoid that from happening to you, you need to look at your life and figure out the time that you can give to writing. It can be a few minutes every day or probably a few hours on a weekly basis.
Have that time ready beforehand so you won’t have to worry about fitting writing into your daily life after wasting months preparing for your first book. It is essential to commit to yourself and the book otherwise, no research can help you with that.
2. Have Your Reasons Clear
This step might not sound like much since it doesn’t directly affect your writing, and the activity factor is slightly lacking in this one. But to commit to your first book, clarify that you are not writing this book because of an impulsive hobby.
I’m not against hobbies, but might I say there’s a difference between infatuation and love (terrible metaphor, but you get the gist). There are high chances that you’ll get bored easily and start looking for some other hobby to try. But, hey! On a positive note, that little crush might just develop into something serious. It is your choice in the end.
Hence this step is here. Let’s ask yourself some questions to see if your reasons are worth investing in or not. Do your reasons match with any of the reasons below?
- Writing a book you want to read.
- Writing a book you think only you can write.
- Write to educate and spread awareness.
- Because you always wanted to be an author.
- You are a storyteller at heart.
Scribe your reasons down, those reasons will help you with your writer’s block when words become foreign to you. Writer’s block will be always at your doorsteps during your first book since you are new and don’t have the experience to handle them.
You can check my post about dealing with writer’s block with cool writing exercises here.
3. Note Your Ideas
What do you want to write about? Note all the ideas that your mind throws at you. From small to big and simple to hard. All the ideas which inspire you to take steps towards it.
Now filter the original ideas out. Look at the ideas that aren’t exact copies of your favorite book or show. That’s how you get the story that is yours to tell. I’m not saying that other books won’t influence your story, but some originality in the crowd might get more appreciated.
Don’t throw unuseful ideas out of the window. Save them. Who knows in which plot hole they might help you later.
4. Know Your Starting And Ending Point
After knowing your idea and what kind of story you want to write, the most important thing to do before writing your first book is knowing the starting of the story and how you want to end it.
Because if you don’t know these two factors before writing your first book, you might never figure out the end at all. The end defines your plot and makes it easy for you to reach your goal easily. Trust me, you don’t want to sit in your slotted time trying to figure out how the story ends instead of writing later.
It doesn’t have to be a rigid plot end. It is just here to help you see your destination so you won’t get lost. Also, now that we are here at this stage, get your genre and subgenres prepared.
An outline is a map of your story and to go through your first book you need to have some kind of outline. There is a lot of debate on pansters and plotters, and even if you think of yourself as a panster, you don’t want to take the risk in your first book.
You can’t be depending entirely on your pansting if you don’t have some experience in handling it. Write a few sentences about each scene and subplot if nothing fits you.
Don’t go all detailed either. Remember, it’s your first book, let it breathe. Going without an outline or going too extreme with your outline can drag you to that writer’s block.
6. Your Writing Nook
You have your time set, your reasons are clear, and you have your plots mapped out. You might think that you are ready to start with your first book, but there’s one more thing hindering in your way.
You need to decide which place you’ll write your book in. Is it Scrivener or Word document or something else that fits your taste? Where do you want to sit to get those words out? Your desk, cafe, library, park? Some people like to change their sitting place according to their mood. But have at least one place ready where you can always write without feeling moody.
Finally, it’s time to create a world out of your words and make every minute count. This might get difficult with you not knowing the process and formats but just focus on the story and the words.
Write your first book either scene per scene or chapter by chapter. And to get the story out with fewer hinders, create goals. The most common goal is the word count goal, where you decide to reach a certain count threshold. People create daily word count goals, but what I advise is to create weekly goals.
You won’t be able to write every day, and it’s okay to not write every day. But ignoring your goals won’t get your first book anywhere. Therefore, instead of having daily goals, try to give weekly goals a chance.
8. Let Your Draft Breathe (And Yourself)
Don’t beat yourself over not having your story perfect in one go. It’s your first draft and in one way or another, first drafts always suck. After having your draft complete, give it a break. Give yourself a break. Wait for at least one month before opening it again. Celebrate for completing your first draft, have fun.
9. Read And Edit
Now it’s time you wear your armor to protect yourself, cause it’s going to get tough. After the break, you have a fresh perspective on the story. Use that perspective to edit with your critical eyes. It will take a lot of time, hard work, and tears for cutting the scenes you thought are great but actually aren’t. But the only thing I can tell you is that it’s worth it.
With each step you complete, you’ll have your first book ready, just be patient with yourself and your story. I know the process is not all rainbow and sunshine, but if you love writing then it won’t be hard for you. Now that you have your research, get on with writing that first book that only you can write.
Sometimes during writing, the process falls flat and boring, which can make the story flat. To avoid that, you can try mood boards and writing playlists. You can find a lot of pre-made ones on the internet and if they don’t fit with your story’s feel and character’s nature, use them as inspiration to make your own.