If you’re considering writing your first book, you may be wondering what you’ll need to get started and what you’ll need to keep going. Here’s a short(ish) list of the things I recommend to clients at various stages of their writing journeys, whether they’re starting out, smack in the middle, or have finally finished that final draft.
AN IDEA: What are you writing about? I’ve worked with more than one client whose book idea was actually several book ideas, and the first leg of our journey together was figuring out which one to write first.
GEAR: You can’t write a book without something to write it on, whether that’s a laptop, a phone, a notebook or a combination of all three.
TIME: There’s no getting around it; writing takes time. And it always takes more time than you think it will, so you’re going to have to clear some serious space on your schedule.
A PLAN: How exactly are you going to write this book? You don’t need to know everything but you do need to figure out some basics about scheduling, file organization, research, and the logistics of adding something this big into your already busy calendar.
A REASON: You know you want to write this book, but do you know why? Why are you the best person to write it? Why do people need to read it? It’s just as essential to identify your “why” when writing a book as it is when starting a business; it will not only motivate you through the hard times but will also help you more clearly identify what your readers need.
SUPPORT: When it comes to taking on any long-term project, the support you need comes in many forms. It’s the encouragement you get from your loved ones and family, it’s the feedback you get from a coach or writing group, and it’s even the people you live with who give you space to lock yourself in a room for hours at a time.
GUIDANCE: There are so many stages on the publishing journey that no one, regardless of experience or preparation, can know it all. While you’re always going to be the expert when it comes to why and what you’re writing, you will inevitably require some expert guidance to get published.
AN EDITOR: You didn’t think I’d forget this part did you? Editors provide support and guidance and I am constantly surprised that new writers often don’t know how much, and in how many ways, we can help.
Developmental editing helps you structure and shape your book once you’ve completed your first draft.
Line editing helps your sentences and chapters to flow once your revisions are complete.
Copy editing assures there are as few grammatical errors and typos as possible when you send out your manuscript to be read.
SNACKS: I mean, have you ever heard of a writer who didn’t need snacks?