There are many ways to write a book. You’ll find any number of books (including mine), accountability partners, writing retreats/conventions/workshops, website articles galore, and anything else you could possibly want. They’ll tell you what works, what doesn’t, when to start, how long it should take, how to keep motivated, etc.
Resources cover all the bases. Should you try and write it in a month? Write every day? Get software that converts your voice to text? Hire a coach? Set a daily or weekly word count goal? Use a program to shut down your internet connection until you complete your daily tasks? Buy every book there is on the craft until you’ve read them all but gotten nowhere nearer to “the end” than before you started?
It can all get overwhelming.
I should know, I’ve been trying for a few years now. Though I did finish a first draft in 2015, I’m too embarrassed to even look at it. And, I haven’t been able to get into another since. Luckily for me, I have a group of readers who are in the trenches with me (thanks for being here) trying to figure out what works. That includes you if you’re reading this.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to write a book, I’m going to tell you. Each grueling (scratch that, super-fantastically-fun) week at a time. My blog will keep me accountable (since I know there’s at least one person who continues to read it).
The first thing when starting a new project is to set measurable goals and hold yourself accountable for completing them. That means tracking either time spent writing, words written, or task completed. You have to choose what works for you. I’m going to keep track of the number of words I complete for my novel since I already spend time each day writing.
My goal will be to complete 500 words a day to start (taking however long I need). I’m sure that sounds low. I usually write 2,000 or more a day on other projects, not including journaling. But, my fiction muscles are rusty and I want to give myself time to work up to larger numbers. Remember, you have to be kind to yourself because there’s already so much working against you.
In order to be the most productive I can be, I’m going to try and iterate the practice. Meaning, I’m going to keep track of when I write, how many words I get done with, and other variables that I can change (will there be music, where will I write, etc). That way, I’ll have a spreadsheet of the most productive conditions and be able to repeat them as necessary. I’ll start by focusing on my novel, but I’ll let you know if I add this practice to my other writing tasks.
I’m planning on sharing my spreadsheet as I update it each week.
I’m also adding a meditation and mantra to my practice. My mantra is: Writing fiction is such a fun way to problem solve and express myself creatively. I love writing every day. Feel free to steal it for yourself or come up with your own.
I’ll meditate on my completed book by seeing it on the shelf next to other YA fantasy novels with my name and the name of my preferred agent. That should help motivate me and keep my attention on my external goal, but simultaneously help me achieve the more important internal goal of completing my novel.
What you can expect
Each week I’m going to tell you what I’m working on, how it went, the process I used, and the best resources I’ve found that I think will help you along the way. I’ll be honest and not hide the days I failed. Ultimately, I hope to have a record of the process I use to write a book even if it only works for this book in particular.
For now, here’s the process one of my favorite authors, Laini Taylor, used to write her first novel. I hope it helps you get started.
What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments so we can motivate each other.