We get this question at AYW often. "How do I even start writing?" "What if I get stuck and can't write?" "Is my book idea good enough, am I good enough?"
Each of these questions could fill a book each on their own. I will do my best to help you get started.
Set Up For Success
Writing a book can be a very long and arduous process, or it can be really easy if you are set up correctly. When you organize your thoughts on paper, it's best to start with an idea of the types of things you wish to communicate with your audience.
Some first-time writers become overwhelmed because they begin to think about the future. Often they are derailed because they may worry no one will want to read their book. If you do a little research into the things that make you feel the most inspired or passionate, you will find a topic that will move you to write about topic people find valuable, entertaining and thought provoking.
A fun tool I recently found is at answerthepublic.com, and it is fantastic. You can only search a few keywords per day, but you will find a list of topics for your audience. The best part, it's free. You may find something that sparks your creativity.
Once you have a core idea, begin to mind map all the concepts you know well about that main point. Once you have completed your mind map, you are well on your way to beginning your outline. Once you have your outline fill in simple subheadings and boom, you can start filling in your content. It is this easy, if you work on a topic you know well, you have grounded ideas about, and you know what you want your book to accomplish.
Sticking to a Writing Schedule
The dreaded writing schedule isn't as bad as it sounds. You know your life, and you know when you have the most time. The first thing is to take time inventory. Where are you wasting time, where have you been busy but not productive, how can you manage your time more easily?
I learned block time from Brendan Burchard, a massively successful high-performance coach, at a conference he was putting on years ago. I loved this concept. First, write out the days of the week. Add in all increments of time from the time you wake till your normal bedtime. Fill in and color in the blocks of time that are absolute musts. Determine times specifically for email, social media, work, play, family time, meals, etc. A simple example would be if you constantly check email or social media all day, take a step back and evaluate, can I check those for a total of 15 minutes every 3 hours instead of every moment I hear a "ding"? Get brutally honest with yourself in this area.
I have found hours in my day by changing this one simple thing. I look at social media for 1 hour per day from 11-12 and make myself available during that time for questions. Outside of that time, my authors have access to me in other ways. When you block out your time, you will find 15-20 minutes per day to eke out at a minimum of a few paragraphs. If you write 555 words per day for 90 days, you will have a 200-page book 6x9 with around 50,000 words. Take one step at a time and have fun!
Switching It Up
You're bored, your content feels a little blah, and you feel like your writing is uninspired. It's time to get revitalized. Here is a list of things you can do to have fun with your content.
Take a walk and change perspective
Write from a different point of view (what would the villain of your life story or your dog have to say about a section of your manuscript?)
Draw or paint
Visit a museum
Take a short road trip or day trip
Exercise (walk, stretch, breathe etc.)
Eat something delicious and describe it in detail &
Use some writing prompts to spark ideas. Check out our blog post 25 Non-Fiction Writing Prompts
Writing is an unfolding process, but it doesn't have to be difficult and can be extremely pleasurable. When you have fun and enjoy the process, doors to creativity will open for you.
One step in front of the other, find your flow.