How to Write a Book: 7 Basic Steps

Discover 7 tips on how to write a book, overcome writer's block, and finish your manuscript

You've made the decision to start writing a book. Congratulations! Writing a book is one of the most exciting adventures you can undertake: it not only allows you to express your ideas creatively but also gives you the opportunity to share your experiences with the world.

However, the writing process can be daunting, especially if you are new to it. It's easy to feel insecure and unable to start (and finish) a project of this magnitude. Therefore, in this article, we share some basic tips on organizing your time, overcoming writer's block, and getting to work. Grab a pencil and paper, a computer, a typewriter, or your preferred writing tool and start taking notes!

1. Make a plan and prepare an outline

Before you start writing, take a moment to think about your end goal. What story do you want to tell? Which genre do you feel most comfortable with?

Once you have those basic ideas, start planning. Create an outline or a mental map to organize your ideas and establish a structure for your work to serve as the backbone of the story.

Of course, try not to obsess over having each and every one of the narrative steps decided before starting. Writing is a creative and often unpredictable process, so it's only natural that there be changes along the way. In fact, your style may not fit the rigidity of extremely detailed schematics. According to G.R.R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire saga (the books on which the award-winning Game of Thrones series is based):

"I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed, and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows."

So ask yourself what type of writer you are and plan accordingly.

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2. Spend time with your characters

What is a story without its protagonist or its villain? The characters are the essence of any literary work. They bring the story to life and connect the reader with the plot. For this reason, although the plot is fundamental, it's worth dedicating time and effort to those who bring it to life.

Before you start writing, think carefully about each of the characters that will appear in your book. Create a file for each one in which you include their name, age, physical and psychological traits, personal story, motivations, and goals. This will help you better understand your characters and make them more realistic and believable.

In addition, it is important for the characters to evolve throughout the story. They should not be static but instead be challenged and change as the plot progresses. Think about each character's transformation arc and how it will affect the story as a whole.

3. Find a time and place

Find a quiet place free of distractions and set a regular time to write. Ideally, find the place that inspires you the most and the time of day when you are most productive. In addition, consider using distraction-blocking apps for email and social media during your writing time to help you stay focused.

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4. Consistency is key

Writing a book is a marathon: perseverance and endurance are key. To maintain writing frequency and find that initial momentum, set a daily or weekly writing goal and work towards it. This goal can be time (to sit down and write for a certain amount of time) or words (to write X number of words by the end of the week).

Even if you're not completely satisfied with what you've written, keep going. You can always come back and make changes later on.

5. Overcome writer's block

Facing the blank page is one of the most common challenges for those who decide to write a book. To overcome it, try some techniques like free writing, meditation, or just leaving the house to seek inspiration outside of your comfort zone. You can also check out this writing tutorial with exercises to unlock ideas and overcome your fear of the blank page. There are many options, so don't lose hope.

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6. Rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite

Editing and proofreading are crucial stages in the book-writing process. After finishing a draft, it's important to take time to step away from your work so you can return to it with fresh and critical eyes. At this stage, the necessary structural changes can be made to improve the flow and coherence of the work: removing or adding characters, outlining conflicts, and getting rid of the fluff.

Once these substantial changes have been made, you must spend time checking spelling, grammar, and punctuation, since any such error, although it does not affect the plot of the book, can distract the reader and detract from the credibility of your work.

Taking the time to go through these stages thoroughly can make the difference between mediocre work and great work. As the English poet and novelist Sir Salman Rushdie said, "Writing is rewriting."

The sooner you accept it, the sooner you will have a manuscript that's ready to publish.

7. Ask for help if you need it

Although writing is often a lonely process, it doesn't have to be that way all the time. If you feel stuck and don't know how to continue, don't be afraid to ask for help. Join online writing groups, ask friends and family for feedback, or hire a professional editor to help you polish your work. You can also take writing courses to learn new techniques and strategies to hone your writing skills.

If you need extra help, make the process easier by using these book-writing apps, which will make your creative work easier and streamline the publishing process.

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Writing a book is a fascinating process and is quite a challenge for any creative. With the tips we've shared, we hope we've given you a solid foundation for your writing journey. Remember that there is no magic formula to writing the perfect book, but practice, perseverance, and believing in yourself can take you a long way. So sit back and start bringing your stories to life. The world is dying to read them!

English version by @maggie_ryan

Do you want to learn more about writing?

- Keep improving your writing skills with these writing courses.

- Learn how to turn your written ideas into a book project by exploring your curiosity, imagination, and worldview with the online course: Bookwriting for Beginners: Developing Your Ideas on Paper.

- Learn the keys to creating a novel and stimulate your imagination with practical exercises to connect with your inner world in Writing a Novel Step by Step by Cristina López Barrio.

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