The desire to write a book is something many, perhaps even most, freelance writers share.
Often, however, it seems like we writers postpone that book writing project roughly forever. The possible exception being those truly hardy souls who manage to get a novel written in a month during National Novel Writing Month.
All sorts of things get in the way, of course, including some wrong ideas about the whole business of writing a book. Take a look at these seven statements and see if they help you get started, or decide not to.
Books do not have to be written front to back
Until I was hired to finish a book for someone who already had a publisher I figured books pretty much got written from the front to the back. That turns out not to be true.
Books get written any way you can get them written. If you need to start with the finish, great, start there. If you need to start in the middle, that’s fine too.
In the end, the book will follow a front-to-back order and that’s how most of your readers will read it. But it sure doesn’t have to be written that way.
Book writing is hard work
As freelance writers we know writing is hard work – even if it’s the work we love. We intuitively recognize that to write a whole book will be harder still. And it’s true.
Stringing together the 30,000 to 60,000 words and more takes real and consistent effort. Even more so because we want to do it well.
Consistent effort is what’s needed
Although NaNoMo gives you 30 days to complete your novel, and you can find courses that swear you can write a bestseller in a weekend, it’s nary impossible to get a finished, polished manuscript done in a hurry.
What works is a consistent effort over a sustained period of time. I tell my ghostwriting customers that we might be able to get a book done in 120 days if I’ve got at least half of their attention for that period, but 6 months to a year or more is much more common.
You need to be able work on your book for at least a couple of hours every weekday. Some say every day, including weekends. I think we all need time off.
You certainly don’t need permission to write a book!
I chuckled when I read Scott Berkun’s statement, “… 20% of the people who ask me (how to write a book) are hoping to hear this – Anyone can write a book. They want permission.”
He’s right. A lot of people call me asking about book writing because they want permission.
He’s also right when he says you don’t need permission to write a book. None, nor approval, nor even encouragement, although that can be nice to have.
It’s far easier to start a book than to finish one
I’ve started I don’t know how many books. I’ve finished maybe 10 percent. Some I consider still viable – and those hang out in my hard drive.
Sure, there’s something to be said for finishing what you start. That’s not always possible or even desirable with some books. I think it was Tony Robbins who said “Fifty percent of success is knowing when to quit.” I find that true when it comes to writing a book.
Every book needs rewriting
Every book needs rewriting or at least would benefit from it. Every book? Yes, every book – they all can be improved. That’s what editing and rewriting are all about. It’s part of the process and rewriting is where books get good. However if your book is already out there, there’s probably no point in worrying about improving it unless your doing a new edition.
Every book benefits from professional copy editing
Even if your spelling is perfect, and fully formed, grammatical sentences flow from your fingers with ease, your book will benefit from a professional copy editor.
The reason is simple. When you’re proofing your work, even if you’re reading it word by word backwards, you know what it’s supposed to say. You’re too close to it to be sure you’ll see the errors. The copy editor doesn’t have your knowledge of the text so is much more likely to catch gaffs and typos.
Your book can be published
You may be able to find a trade publisher for your book, or you may choose to self-publish. Be aware that in either case you’ll need to market your book. Unless, of course, you want it only as a legacy for your family or some other limited reason – which can be a great reason to write a book.
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Write well and often,
Write well and often,