Millions of people dream of writing a book, whether it’s an attempt to make millions of dollars and launch a multimedia franchise or just a creative exercise. But most people feel disinclined to start writing due to fear or personal inhibition.
If you’re ready to overcome these obstacles and write a draft of the book you’ve always wanted, this article can help you do it.
Figure Out What’s Stopping You
Your first job is to figure out what’s stopping you. Why haven’t you written this book already?
These days, it’s both easy and inexpensive to print your own book. But many people still haven’t realized this. They feel like they have no chance of signing with a major publisher and that it’s far too expensive to try and print the book themselves. Do some research and figure out exactly what it would cost to get your book printed – it’s probably cheaper than you think!
Most writers suffer from a case of rampant perfectionism. They want their book to be awesome, so when the first sentence they write is iffy, they give up. And some people never start because they feel like they can’t do it, period. This is a tough mental hurdle to overcome.
For some, the biggest obstacle is time. If you’re juggling a full-time job, family responsibilities, hobbies, and a social life, there probably isn’t much time to dedicate to writing. Rescheduling is practically your only option here.
You might also struggle with a lack of good ideas, or ideas you care about. You can’t force ideas to come, so remain patient and look to various sources of external inspiration.
When you figure it out, you can focus on the limiting factor and try to eliminate it.
Make a Small Commitment
The best way to achieve a big goal is to break it down to much smaller, more actionable steps. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to write a book by the end of the winter – instead, make a small, reasonable commitment.
You may be busy, but do you have an extra 10 minutes a day? Consider waking up early or cutting out a bad habit to make time.
You could also try to write just 250 words a day. It’s not much – this article is close to 800 – but at this rate, you’ll have a novel done in just over 6 months.
You could also try to write a chapter a week, or make some kind of progress each day (even if it’s just coming up with ideas).
Join a Group
Get motivated to write by joining a writer’s group. These gatherings generally assemble on a regular basis, encouraging everyone to focus on their individual progress. You might also get a chance to share ideas, collect feedback, and build friendships for ongoing moral support.
Find the Right Environment
When you’re ready to start writing, it’s imperative to find the right environment.
You don’t need much space to write, but you should be comfortable. Consider working at a designated desk or a table with plenty of room.
Looking out a window or gazing at a piece of abstract art can be much more inspiring than staring at a cubicle wall.
Sounds. Some people find it easier to write in complete
silence. Others prefer a bit of gentle background music. Still others like the white noise of a coffee shop or park. Find what works for you.
Try to choose an environment with few distractions and interruptions. Don’t surround yourself with people who will want to talk to you or fun novelties that will pull you away from your work.
Get Something on Paper
“The first draft of anything is s***,” so goes an adage that’s been attributed to a variety of people, including Ernest Hemingway and Arnold Samuelson. It’s a bit extreme, but it offers a valuable point; your first draft isn’t going to be perfect. And it isn’t meant to be.
It’s much better to write a horrible first draft than it is to not write anything at all. Just getting something on paper, even if it’s the worst conceivable version of your book idea, is measurable progress toward your goal. Use this mentality to challenge yourself and get something on paper, no matter what other hang-ups you’re dealing with.
The first draft of your book may not be pretty, and it certainly won’t be perfect, but when it’s done, you’re going to feel incredible – and you’ll be much more capable of achieving your subsequent writing goals. Take a break once you finish, then return to it when you’re ready. After a few rounds of revision and editing, you’ll be ready to publish.