It’s been almost two years since I self published my first book that is a memoir of life in my twenties. Working, making friends and meeting and dating my husband, all while trying to afford to eat in the city that made me, NYC. And it never fails, every time I bring up in conversation (low key casual, of course) that I’ve written and self published a book, the response is, “How did you do that?”
It’s true that the process of writing a book can be daunting. You might have a story or an idea, but with everything big, the part that stops most people from getting started is, not understanding what the first step should be. Obviously I am not an expert at writing books, but I am happy to share the steps I took in completing mine, in hopes that it motivates you to start yours.
- Buy a Book on How to Write a Book! No, seriously, that was the first thing I did. I didn’t know where to start, so I read. There are many books out there on this topic. I just found the one that resonated with me and my natural organizational style.
- Get Organized. For me it started with the chapters and what stories I wanted to tell and where they should belong in the big picture. Decide all the things you want to say and where you think everything should be go. This is the outline for your book.
- Fill in the blanks. Just start writing. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or the flow. Brain dump the details of the stories and things in your outline. Conversations, details, stories will start to flow and the book will start to take shape.
- Re-read it and add more. It’s better to have more then what you need then not enough. Add more detail and description where you think the reader will want to know more and pay attention to the places in your story where the folks who were there are the only ones that know the details.
- Find an Editor. It is so important to have someone who has fresh eyes and perspective read and edit your work. Preferably a professional editor who will take your work to the next level.
- Add more and Edit. If you find the right editor, you will want to take their advice! Make the edits. Save the edits. Be the edits.
- Finish. Don’t become a victim to perfection. There is no such thing, so put it all out there and actually finish. Call it so that you can figure out how to get it out into the world.