Is this your year? Is this the year you will become a published author? That’s what I want for you. This year (at least until we’re done) I’m going to begin at the beginning of the writer’s process and take you through to a finished book with your name on it.
What are the steps from idea to finished book? Let’s begin at the beginning.
Write your idea down. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or even having your ideas in order; just write. The physical/mental act of writing will begin to let your ideas flow to the paper. You’ll find that where you may be stuck in your conscious mind before you begin, will actually start flowing up from your subconscious mind as you begin to write. When you go back to read what you’ve written you’ll be surprised at how much was in there waiting to get out. Step number one: simply begin to write.
One writing session, although it felt really good once you began, doesn’t make a book. Writing is a habit and habits are practiced regularly – that’s why we call ’em habits. Set aside a time each day or each week when no one or nothing else has a prior bid for your time. Dedicate that time to writing. When I wrote my first book, ‘Breaking the Treasure Code: The Hunt for Israel’s Oil,’ I had a full-time job running a manufacturing company. Saturdays and part of Sundays (thanks to my gracious and patient wife) were my writing days. The manuscript was complete in a few months and I was ready to publish. But I never could have done the writing if I hadn’t set aside those days every weekend. Now I run a publishing and media company and I spend weekends with family and on home projects. My regular writing time is now each morning a few hours before the rest of the world wakes up. When I fall out of the habit I don’t write. When I stick to the habit I write; it’s as simple as that. Step number two: Make your writing a habit that you practice at a certain time on a certain day or days and stick to it.
Don’t get lost.
This world offers a million distractions a keystroke or a ringtone away. Writing time is your time and it’s for writing; not for checking out something on the Internet (if you’re doing ‘research’ on the Internet during you’re writing time, you’re not writing, you’re procrastinating – stop it). Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by outside interruptions. Turn off your phone, shut down your e-mail, and eliminate all beeps, buzzers, vibes, or tones in your life that signal someone or something else wants your attention. The reason I write super-early in the morning is easy, the rest of the world is asleep. This time is for you; for transforming your thoughts into words on a page. Step number three: Turn off or turn away all distractions.
Read what you’ve written.
Before your next writing session, take a minute or two to read what you wrote during your last writing session. Don’t judge the quality of your writing and don’t edit what you wrote previously (that comes later), just take a few minutes to see the thoughts you put into words last time. This will help you remember where you left off and squirt a little starter fluid into the carburetor of your ‘thoughts to words’ machine. It will make beginning your current writing session easier and, hopefully, create a flow and continuity between what you wrote last time and what you’re writing this time. Step number four: Read what you wrote last session before beginning this session.
Stick to the point.
A book that has no central idea, that lacks flow and continuity, that doesn’t take the reader from beginning to end in a comprehensible progression is just a diary. It might be good therapy for you but you’ll have an audience of one. The reason you’re writing is to express an idea to others (your readers). They need a starting point, a clear path and a finish line. That’s one reason for reading what you wrote last time before beginning your next writing session, so you don’t wander off the path you’re trying to build for your reader. Step number five: Stick to the point; you’re writing a book, not a diary.
If you’re stuck somewhere in this process, let me know by commenting below; we’ll work through it. If you’ve got some great ideas or something that has worked to keep you writing, let us all know! Share your ideas in the comment section below.