So You Want To Write A Book, But Don’t Know How

How old should you be to write a book? As old as you are. There are teenage authors, 20-30 something authors, acim old authors and old, really old, authors. Age is just a number. If you have something to say or share, and feel compelled to say or share in print, be an author. At any age and every age. Age is just a number. Write your book!

What do you do if you want to write a book but can’t write well? How do you write a book on a computer if you are computer illiterate? Write it anyway. You can use other ways to tell your story. Write it on paper, using a pen or pencil. Dictate it if you are more comfortable speaking rather than writing. You can have it transcribed after you do it.

The first thing about writing a nonfiction book is to have something worth writing about. Preferably something of interest to YOU and hopefully of interest to others. And you also need motivation. Why do you want to write your book? Yes, it’s important to know why. If you aren’t sure, or don’t know, ask yourself, “Why am I writing this book?” To get rich? To become famous? To have people like and admire you? To educate? To impart wisdom? To honor something or someone? To help yourself and improve your life? To help others? It is a good thing to know why you are motivated to write your book.

OK, so you want to write a book. What’s the first thing to do when getting started writing your book? Figure out a good title. What’s the main point of your book? That is the basis for your title. Yes, having a good title is important. And often difficult. Until you come up with the “perfect” title, you can use a working title, i.e. call it anything, just don’t let not having the perfect title at this stage stop you from starting your book!

Next, do an outline. Why? Because you need to outline your book – BEFORE you write it. Why? You need to do an outline so you know where you’re going, where you’ve been, and where you are when you are writing your book. The objective of the outline is to list ALL the things in the book that you want to have, or ought to have, in your book, all the things that you want your readers to read. This outline will become the basis, the plan, the blueprint, for what’s in your book.

Once you have finished your outline, and done the research you need to do (if any) you are ready to start writing the First Draft of your book. What’s a First Draft? It’s the first writing of your book. From beginning to end. The First Draft is often lousy; bad spelling mistakes, bad/no/incorrect punctuation, disorganized. Ugh, a mess. Not to worry, that’s normal, and that’s what rewriting is for. When doing the First Draft, write everything you can on your subject, no matter what it is, following and expanding on your outline as you go. You will add stuff and remove stuff later, when you rewrite/edit your First Draft.

Writing your initial manuscript, your First Draft, is the most creative, fulfilling and fun part of writing a book!

After you finish your First Draft, what comes next? Rewriting. Lots of rewriting. You will be putting stuff in and taking stuff out, rearranging the chapters, fixing the sentences. Rewriting is a lot easier if you start with a good outline and have finished your First Draft. When you are done, and more or less satisfied with your manuscript, you can then move onto the next stage.

After the rewriting/editing phase you then go on to the proofreading stage. Why proofread your book? Because your book must contain correct spelling and correct punctuation and flow properly. It’s a reflection of you. I often proofread my manuscript 2-3 times. When proofreading, I wait a few days between proofreadings. Though I proofread my manuscript several times over a few days or weeks it’s not enough. Why? Because I wrote the stuff; I’m too close to it and I don’t catch ALL the errors. Once I am done proofreading, I then find an outside person to do a final proofreading. And they ALWAYS find more errors! If you are not good at proofreading, simply find someone who is.

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