OK, so you want to write a book, but you’re not an experienced writer. Here’s one way you can get started as a writer …

I’m sure you know that writing a book is a huge undertaking. It can take years of hard work, writing, crafting and editing your project until it’s ready for publication.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve always wanted to write a book, please DO IT! It took me quite a while, but I did it – and I plan to do it again. Let me tell you, there’s no better feeling than holding that lovely book – YOUR BOOK – in your hands, caressing the cover and thumbing through the pages, checking that it IS your name of the cover and pinching yourself that it’s actually happened. You’ve published a BOOK!

I’m often asked about the writing process and many people share their desire to write a book… one day, but sadly, few actually follow through and finish. Actually, most never even start.

Want to know how to start writing?

Starting out on a smaller project first can help to build your writing skills and your confidence.  Like anything, become a good (or great) writer takes practice, preferably daily practice. Instead of getting all caught up in your big book project, I suggest you start to practice your writing practice by keeping a journal.

Journal writing can be so much more than just writing down what you did that day. Journaling can help you to explore emotions, vent your frustrations or analyse relationships and issues you may be experiencing.  You can expand on your experiences by tapping into all five senses of taste, touch, sound, smell and sight.

The great part about keeping a journal is that you can write about whatever you want – it’s entirely up to you. Don’t judge anything that you write, just keep writing. How and what you write is for your eyes only.

Writing a book, Seize the day project

Journaling tips:

  • Commit to writing at a specific time of the day – 10-15 minutes is all it takes to start, but once you get going, you may want to dedicate more time each day
  • Journal writing with pen and paper is often more effective than using a computer – there’s just something about the handwriting process which seems to stimulate the brain
  • Select a blank book or journal to write in – Keep it just for journaling. Your journal can be as plain or fancy as you like, whatever works for you
  • Always note the date, time and place you’re writing at the top of each entry
  • You might want to elaborate on where you’re sitting as you write – describe your surroundings, what you can see, hear, smell and taste
  • Note down 5 things you’re grateful for that day – this is a great practice to get into, as expressing your gratitude for the good things in your life helps attract more wonderful things to come into your world
  • Use journaling prompts – a word, image or question – to help get started
  • Describe an item in great detail, as if explaining it to someone who’s never seen it before
  • Make a list of things you love, hate, that make you angry, that you wish didn’t exist …
  • Play some quiet background music if it helps you write
  • Use coloured pens or pencils – try using a different colour for each day of the week
  • Use a timer to avoid procrastinating over the blank page

So, what about my book? I hear you ask…

You might wonder what this has to do with your book. Please be assured, the writing practice and daily discipline of journaling will improve your writing while you’re thinking about the content and process of your book.

You can also journal about your book and its characters, plot or content/topic. Try writing a character’s name or subject at the top of the page and write random thoughts or words, or even a piece of dialogue for the character. Just explore the topic and see what happens. You can then transfer any relevant information to your outline for the book.

Once you’ve started journaling, or if you’ve started already, please let me know – what are your experiences with journaling? What have you learned in the process?