If you’ve never written a book before, starting one can seem like an impossible feat. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the scale of the job, to the point where adding even a single word to that blank screen feels like a Herculean task.
The truth is, there is no “one weird trick” for how to start writing a book. But there are several steps you can take to begin the project organized, energized, and confident about the task ahead.
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Step 1: Create a vision for your book
Maybe you already know what kind of book you want to write, or maybe you’ve just always wanted to write some kind of novel. Maybe you’re somewhere in between. Whatever’s drawn you to writing a book, it’s important that you figure out what you’re actually trying to create — otherwise, you’re likely to write yourself in circles.
Explore your idea
Next it’s time to take your broad idea and develop it into a full concept.
There are a lot of things to consider as you develop your book, and the way you’ll go about planning it will obviously vary depending on whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction. For a detailed fiction walkthrough, you can watch the rest of the above video series here. Some things you’ll want to consider at this stage are:
What kind of themes and questions do you want to explore in your book? The power of friendship, the inevitability of death, an examination of the grief process?
Potential plot twists, and any tropes you might want to use — if you’re writing fiction.
Building your world and the characters that live there — if you’re writing fiction.
What other books have said about the topic already — especially if you’re writing nonfiction.
Get yourself a support system
No writer is an island. Hopefully your friends and family will be encouraging of your writing endeavors, but even if they’re not, there’s plenty of people who will be happy to have your back. As you begin your writing journey, seek out other writers for support, encouragement, and to bounce around advice and story ideas. Consider finding:
A writer’s group, where you can either chat about the craft or exchange work for critique
Local classes and workshops, where you can not only further your education but find friends and mentors
Writer’s conferences, for networking opportunities, and to spend a few days soaking in the enthusiasm of other writers.
And don’t forget the power of the internet! There are plenty of virtual spaces where writers can connect as well.