There’s a lot to manage when it comes to writing and publishing a book. Breaking down the process into stages is helpful in preventing overwhelm — AND allows you to check items off the list as you move your book project forward. We all love checking off completed tasks, am I right?
The bottom line, though, is that there is no book for people to buy and read without a manuscript. Once you have your idea fleshed out a bit, your first big “check” is a first draft of your manuscript. A LOT of writers (both professional and author-entrepreneurs) get hung up when it’s time to do the actual writing. These three tips will help.
A LOT of writers (both professional and author-entrepreneurs) get hung up when it’s time to do the actual writing. - @jodibrandon
1. Have a plan.
A book is not something you can “wing.” Well, let me rephrase: You can’t “wing it” and end up with a good book. “Write first draft” is not a calendar item or Asana task. You need to break it down into manageable sub-tasks. Writing the first draft is just one of those tasks, and it involves JUST writing. When you’re ready to write, you shouldn’t be interviewing clients for examples to use in the book, or researching, or reading, or taking notes. All of that is part of pre-writing.
Your writing plan should involve just writing. By that, I mean you need to establish word count goals, whether they’re daily, weekly, or even monthly. (I can tell you from working with more than 100 self-published authors that daily writers are the best at meeting their writing and publishing goals.) A writing routine will help you stay on track.
2. Just write (don’t revise).
This might be the hardest step for author-entrepreneurs, to be honest.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- It’s ALMOST finished. I just need to look at it one more time.
- I have one section left and then it will be ready.
- It will be ready as soon as I get a stronger headline.
By nature of owning our own businesses, we like to be in control. We often have, a-hem, perfectionist tendencies. It’s HARD for us to keep moving forward when we know something is incomplete or not quite right. But that’s EXACTLY what I’m advising you to do. A first draft is supposed to be lousy. It’s called a first draft because it isn’t finished. It’s not meant to be!
Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. — Anne Lamott
The purpose of the first draft is a starting point from which you revise, improve, tighten language, add examples, and more. You can’t do any of those things with a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper. You’ve heard the famous quote “Nothing happens until someone sells something”? Let me turn that quote on its head to apply to book writing: Nothing happens until a draft is written.
With a draft, you can:
- Get feedback.
3. Find accountability.
Especially with self-publishing, because the launch date is flexible, it’s important to have accountability. (Otherwise you’ll be one of those people who wants to write a book — or says she’s going to write a book — but always finds a reason why she hasn’t.
What that accountability looks like will depend on you. Some people want to announce a launch date on social media so that followers will ask how it’s going and they’ll feel compelled to stay on top of their plan. Others need or want accountability on a more personal level, such as within a mastermind group or with a business accountability partner. Some people hire a writing coach because they know that “putting their money where their mouth is” is, bottom line, all that’s going to work. Everyone is different.
If you follow these three tips to get your first draft written, the rest of the writing and publishing process will go more smoothly, I promise! Which of these tips resonates with you the most? Let me know in the comments.