How to write a book

Time and again we get asked ‘how do you write a book?’ as if there is some magic formula which will turn an idea into a fully fledged novel at the drop of a hat. There isn’t. The only way to write a book is perseverance.

Writing is a thankless task. It is hard to stay motivated. No one who expresses a desire to write should be envied, instead they need pity – what lies ahead is long hours of solitary effort, scepticism from everyone you meet and a constant voice in your imagination that says in no uncertain terms you are writing rubbish. No wonder people give up.

But if that desire to write keeps nudging at you the only way to deal with it is to write and keep writing, even when procrastination seems to be your constant ally. It is amazing the things authors do to avoid writing, cleaning out cabinets, volunteering to do anything that will keep their fingers well and truly away from the keyboard.

But only by sitting at the keyboard is any writing ever going to be done – so here are a few ways to get and keep yourself motivated.

Imagine you have a tight deadline – keep motivated by picturing  a ferocious employer who is going to be very unhappy if your book isn’t turned in on time.

Commit to yourself – set a target of a certain amount of words each day, you’ll be motivated to achieve that daily count. Do that regardless of whatever else takes place during the day.

Remove all distractions – that means not accepting  random invitations – yes of course there are things you can’t get out of, but recognise that there are things you will do to subconsciously stop yourself from writing.  And of course turn off the wifi so you aren’t tempted onto social media, or making random internet searches under the pretense of research.

Just write – don’t worry if what you pour out is utter rubbish. Three quarters of authors churn out rubbish in a first draft, that is its purpose, get the juices flowing, let your fingers unlock from your brain and let the writing flow, don’t try to do anything other than relax and write. It might feel like you are churning out rubbish, but you’ll be surprised at how good some of it is too. The act of writing will help establish a routine both physically and in your mind. This way the habit will go a long way to prevent the infamous procrastination and help keep you motivated.

Focus – think how proud of yourself you will be when you have written your book. It is a huge achievement and you can do it. But only if you start and keep going will you finish. Perseverance is the key.