Most aspiring writers have goals of publishing a book, and most of them will tell you the hardest part is getting started. Before you begin writing the actual text, you need to narrow down a topic, identify a target audience that would be interested in that topic, outline the book’s structure, do the needed topic research and make decisions regarding publication. To take your book idea from inside your head onto published pages, the following tips can help you increase your motivation and stay on track through the entire writing process.
- Break a large project into smaller, achievable goals. Feeling intimidated and overwhelmed is very common when you consider the entire scope of writing a full-length book. To help dispel these feelings and get writing, make a listof the steps you will need to accomplish to get everything written. For instance:
- List each chapter and its sub-topic. Give yourself a concrete deadline to complete a rough draft of each one.
- Set a minimum daily word count for yourself. Depending on the length of your chapters, writing at least 200 words per day of your current chapter is a manageable goal.
- Create daily time limits. Using a timer can do wonders for staying on task and minimizing online distractions. Setting it to one hour for writing can boost your self-discipline for meeting each of your daily minimum word counts.
- Reward yourself for meeting writing goals. When creating your daily book-writing goals, small rewards can be big motivators for completing them by your set deadlines. Once you have completed a chapter, reward yourself with something that you enjoy, such as a song download from one of your favorite music artists or a set amount of time to browse through your favorite social network. These small rewards for writing can also help lessen the temptation of these online distractions when you need to be working on your book chapters.
- Select a topic that matters to you. This can be the most powerful intrinsic motivator when it comes to writing. If you are writing a book about a subject that you greatly enjoy or that you feel is important, it is much easier to feel energized about putting your words down. In cases of most non-fiction books, you may be writing to inform or educate others about this topic so they will also feel it is important. If you are writing a fiction book, work on creating a story around themes that matter to you in the same way.
- Expect setbacks and stay positive when they do occur. There will be days when you do not meet your daily book-writing goals or when you suffer the occasional bout of writers’ block. Remember these setbacks are temporary and not reflective of your talent level or the validity of your book project. Even the most successful authors encounter these roadblocks, so keeping these situations in perspective is essential. When you fall short of your goals, take a break from your writing desk, stretch, go for a walk and redouble your efforts the following day.
- Do not edit and write your first draft at the same time – a lot of self published authors tend to make that mistake. Focus simply on writing your initial subject matter. Re-reading, correcting and changing the majority of your sentences can be counterproductive when it comes to staying motivated in the beginning. Your first book draft will be far from perfect, but the end goal is to get the entire narrative written out. Some writers compare a first draft to laying a rough foundation that you can always refine and improve later.
- Remember the writing process is not always easy. This rings true for seasoned professional book authors as well. When you want to stop working on your book because it seems too mentally difficult, this is the time to double your efforts and stick to your writing. Taking short breaks is fine, but stopping altogether is not; extended time off can noticeably diminish your motivation.
- Build a support system. Joining a writing group can be an excellent source of motivation, and many of these groups have moved online. If you are writing a book in a particular genre, chances are high that an online writing group exists for it. Many writers’ group members find a wealth of helpful tips from others who are working on their first books as well.
The most difficult part of writing your first book can be getting started and maintaining your motivation. Creating a good set of writing goals, selecting a great topic and keeping setbacks in perspective are some of the best ways to keep up your enthusiasm for your new book-in-progress. The writing journey is not a straightforward one, but the end result can be quite rewarding.