I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I didn’t want to just write a book for the sake of seeing my name in print. Instead, I wanted to wait for a project that jived with my values as a writer and was on a subject I was passionate about.
Beautifully, I found that book project last Fall and have been working on the project since then. The final product won’t hit the shelves ‘til next Fall, but writing this book is on my mind everyday.
I’ve learned a lot in the process so far, and I know I’ll continue to learn. But eleven months into the process, here are five tips I wish I would have known when I took this project on!
1. Set aside time specifically for the book project
When I started this project, I figured I would just fit writing a book into my regular schedule. You know, just slide it in there casual like. The problem was, it was always easy for me to pick any other project to work on besides the book.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write the book, it was just that it was hard to concentrate when all the other projects I’m working on are demanding my time. Even though my deadline isn’t until next Spring, I knew I needed to get booking (pun intended) in order to finish the book project.
Now, once a week I head down to my local Panera, grab a medium drink (which was free today thanks to MyPanera!), and get to writing. The whole place smells like bread, and there’s nothing like carbs to motivate me.
Want to finally start writing your project, or get around to finishing the project that you started who-knows-how long ago? Start by booking an appointment in your calendar with yourself and your book project. Turn of your phone, log off social media, and get cracking!
2. Look for a great editor
Before I started as a freelance writer, I didn’t take criticism well. Instead of listening to the critique and accepting or rejecting it, I would take criticism as a personal insult.
Now, almost five years into the freelance writing gig, I’ve got some pretty tough skin. But if I know anything after these years, it’s that there’s always room to improve when it comes to my writing. So when I looked into writing a book, I knew I wanted to find a great editor.
Book editors provide an outside perspective to the project. They aren’t emotionally bound to that chapter title like you are, and they’re looking out for your good and the good of the future reader.
I send drafts of each section of the book to my editor and I love hearing what she thinks. Granted, I’m still working on not spending the days between sending her a copy and getting her edits back worried that I won’t have to start the whole section over. But even if I have to scrap a whole section, I know she’d have my best interest at heart.
3. Set your own mini-deadlines
Like I said, my final version of this book isn’t due to the editors until next Spring. But if I only had the March deadline in mind, I’d struggle.
Instead, I set miniature deadlines for myself. Each week, I set a deadline for getting a certain amount of writing down. Each month, I have another miniature deadline. All of these deadlines have that big March deadline in mind.
Do you want to finish your book in the next year? Set up miniature deadlines along the way to keep yourself accountable.
4. Be patient with everything (but most importantly yourself)
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your book won’t be either. Unless your a super rock star writer and can churn out hundreds of thousands of words in a few hours, it’s going to take some time to birth this dream into fruition.
You’re going to run into seasons of writers block. You’re going to wonder if it’s worth it. You’ll probably adjust your vision for your book multiple times along the way. That’s okay.
Be patient with the process, but most of all, be patient with yourself. Writing a book is not small potatoes! You’re doing something hard here, but, as Saint Catherine of Siena once said, “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”
5. Get used to change
When I first started this project, it looked completely different than it does now. And you know what? The current book draft probably won’t look anything like the final draft. This has been a process that’s involved a lot of change.
Your project may seem more like a changing chameleon than a book at some times. That’s okay! Keep your main vision in mind and be open to the actual project shifting and changing a little (or a lot!).
Are you writing a book now, or thinking about starting the journey? Tell me your favorite book writing hacks in the comments!
Now I’ve got to get back to writing this book instead of writing about writing a book!