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Want to Write a Book, but Don't Know How to Get Started? Start Here.

Imran is a software developer by day. He's been writing fiction since his teens, but he only published his first book on Amazon in 2020.

Consistency is King

Even if you don't get to the rest of this article, know this: Writing a little bit every day will always get you there. If you have to go now, you're excused. However, stick around if you have a few minutes.

So why does writing a little bit every day trump an entire day of furious writing (followed by several days of nothing)?

If practiced every day, over time, writing becomes an ingrained habit and your brain will subconsciously work on storylines and improvements while you're doing other mundane things, like doing the dishes.

Set a reminder on your phone - that daily 30 minute or hour slot should never be missed. Eventually, you'll start looking forward to that opportunity to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and spill all your day's ideas onto the page.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Just plunge in!

The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.

— Stephen King

Never judge your work

Write freely. Don't let your critical brain get in the way of your writing. Editing is for a later time. Right now, the focus of your work should be to write as freely as possible.

Even when the time to edit comes up, the aim will be to improve your work, never to beat yourself up.

I always like to write several pages (or an entire chapter), then do a round of editing. To edit your work requires "wearing the editor's hat" and viewing your writing from the reader's viewpoint. This often works better when it's done with several pages (instead of switching back and forth between the writer and editor "hats")

Consistency is King!

Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.

— Ray Bradbury

Write about what you love

A good way to get started is to write about things you love. Love cooking? Write a passion-filled recipe, explaining why the addition of kidney beans takes the whole thing to a new level. Love traveling? Write about the last place you visited - the bustle, the aromas, the language.

The point is, it becomes much easier to write about things you know and love. You'll practice wielding the tools that will eventually make your a powerful storyteller. Eventually, you'll be able to write about anything!

Photo by Michael Aleo on Unsplash

Photo by Michael Aleo on Unsplash

Don't wait to be inspired!

I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.

— Peter De Vries

Allow the story to progress organically

This one only applies to fiction. Once you've spent enough time writing, you'll become very familiar with the characters in your story. They'll take on a life of their own, and be able to have conversations with each other. All you have to do then is just be the scribe for their interactions.

When I was writing my book (The Hunt for Rupert Magessa - Amazon) I often wrote down conversations verbatim between my characters when they'd interact in my head.

This helped shape my writing - I'd often not know where the story would lead! It often led me to the best twists in the book, and I had an exciting time writing it - it felt as though I had a front row seat to the action!

It's time to put your creation out into the world!

Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Have the courage to show the world what you've done

The final piece of advice I'd give - don't be so afraid that you stagnate. It took me 20 years to publish my book. In that time, I rewrote the book at least 10 times. Granted - I learned a lot along the way, and my writing improved drastically. The feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, though, I could happily have done without. In the end, it felt like a huge accomplishment putting out my work into the wild. It didn't matter how many good (or bad) reviews I got - the greatest achievement for me was being able to stand up and say "I'm good enough - for me."

At the end of the day, that's what matters the most - self-confidence. Writing is like a muscle - it needs continuous training to improve. You won't be great out of the box, but with enough practice, you could be the next Agatha Christie or Enid Blyton.

Most people never get to this point, though. They never discover their potential because they're always too afraid of what people think.

Don't make that mistake.

Have the courage to show the world what you've done.

© 2021 Imran Khakoo

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