5 things to keep in mind when writing your first book.
When you are writing your first book, it makes sense to not get too caught up in the rules and to focus only on getting all the ideas down on paper. But there are certain things you must keep in mind, so that you are headed for success. There are certain concepts you must be familiar with even if it is your first shot at writing.
Just like anything else, there is a right way to write a book and there are several wrong ways to go about it. It is especially important to consider this if you are writing for an audience and you plan on writing to be a career. This is not to say that only a certain genre of fiction will sell and you should steer clear of any original ideas that you might have. There are many rules of writing and they should all be taken with a grain of salt.
What do you want to achieve as a writer?
The first and most important thing to determine before you embark on the perilous journey of writing a book is figuring out why you even want to become a writer. What do writers do differently and what kind of story do you think you can write?
Writers spend a lot of their time reading (at least good ones do). They are also terribly consumed with the publication process and they often go in circles trying to make the pieces of a story fit. But most importantly, they enjoy writing.
They enjoy the complexities of words and they know their craft very, very well. If you plan on writing a play, you must be familiar with the greatest playwrights of all time. If you plan on being a great poet, you must have a journal that is overflowing with bad rhymes and if you want to be a great fiction writer you must have a list of obscure names for characters that you have yet to construct.
More than anything else, the writer must have the motivation to spend hours in front of a blank page and knack to carry a half-written story for years in some cases before you can consider it done, dusted.
Be prepared to do some learning
Pursuing writing as a career means you are not learning new techniques to create interesting characters, come up with catchy dialogues and descriptions. As a writer, you must get comfortable with always being in the learning stage and with having a knack for research. It is true, writing a book will require that you hone your research skills and know an uncanny amount about the most random things because that is more than often where the best stories come from. Writing your first book is about getting it wrong and learning from it. Writing your first book will teach you more about writing than a literature degree could.
Take it one step at a time
The writing process starts with an idea. When inspiration strikes you must decide if it is, in fact, worth writing a novel about? Once you have a worthwhile idea, you have to decide which genre it is best suited to, whether you will take the fiction route or the non-fiction route. Of course, you don’t need to have it all figured out but taking these necessary steps can help you chalk out your story better.
Outlining the plot helps you determine how everything will come into place. Having all the bits and pieces in an order will allow you to better navigate the story and write life-like characters. It is especially important to know the plot as a writer so that you do not get stuck while writing.
Once you’re done, it is time to start editing your novel. Editing is the hardest part but it is also the most crucial. This is also when you come to terms with the fact that your ‘finished novel’ may only be the first of many, many drafts.
After editing and rewriting your story, you might at some point start to feel like you have finally finished writing it.
You never feel like you have finished writing it. No one does. But as important as it is to perfect your drafts, it is important to learn when it is time to let it go. And maybe start writing something new.
Publishing is not the happy ending
Getting published seems like every writer’s dream but there’s so much more to it. The publishing process does not guarantee that you will be a bestseller the first time around and that you will never have to sell your book to an agent, your writing will do that for itself. This is every writer’s life’s work; accepting that writing may not always end up in publishing and that you must write anyway. Even if it is for no one but yourself.
There are chances that your books turn out to be a massive success which then calls for you to write another, and then another, successful book. As a writer, you must enjoy writing. There isn’t much else to it.
Just like with any other skill, it is practice that makes you a great writer. It is the number of words that you write every day, the pages you fill up in your diaries, irrespective of whether or not you felt particularly inspired that day. The more you write, the more naturally it will start to come to you. And the better it will sound when you read what you’ve written, and rewritten. Great writing is nothing but a whole lot of writing practice.
Thinking about writing your first book but don’t know where to begin? Click here.