If you have a novel idea, diving into the writing process isn’t so easy. When you’re writing a book with no experience, where do you start and how do you approach the work of writing? The same way all writers do!
I don’t want to sound disingenuous, but I feel like every time I write a book, it’s like I’m writing a book for the first time. It takes a while to get into the subject matter, and it takes even longer to feel really connected to the story I’m writing.
For me, every time I start a new project, I get the jitters. I have no idea how to strategize the process other than just diving in. And that’s the thing. If you’re writing a book with no experience (which is what it feels like every single time I start a new draft) you just have to jump into the deep end and swim like hell.
I Want to Write a Book, Where Do I Start?
There is no right way to do anything creative. At least, not really.
Sure, there are things you’ll need to do to perfect the final product, but when it comes to writing a book, you just gotta do it. Remember, gang. It’s write first, edit later.
So if you find yourself saying, “I want to write a book, where do I start?” the answer is literally wherever you want.
You can make a bulleted list of the ideas you have. You can create a Pinterest board for inspiration. You can start putting bits and pieces of the story into a Word Doc.
Don’t overthink it. Usually, when people are asking how to start writing a book, they’re looking for permission. They want to know they are doing the thing correctly.
And like I said–there is no correct way to do it. So just start writing. The book will be a mess until you start editing anyway. And you don’t need permission from anyone to make the creative project you have kicking around inside your head.
There is no learning how to start writing a book about your life or a made-up novel without actually doing it. So, if you have that memoir inside you, just sit down and start drafting the things you know you want to include. You don’t have to put everything in there, and when you get enough stuff collected, you’re going to have to rearrange it all anyway.
Every book is different, and every book will take something out of you that previous books have not. That’s why I feel like I learn how to write a book every single time I start one. So, you just have to jump in and write.
Writing a Book with No Experience
Writing a book with no experience is tough. It’s a lot to think about how to write a book and get it published. There are tons of steps in the process, and if you focus on the big picture, you’re going to be overwhelmed.
Take it one step at a time. Don’t think about what it will be like to publish the book until you’ve written and edited it.
Yeah, you need to think ahead for sure, especially if you’re going to independently publish and you have to create a marketing plan. But this post is your release from thinking about marketing until the book is done.
(Unless you’ve published many books beforehand and can compartmentalize your writing and marketing brains and can write and market simultaneously.)
But, if you’re still wary of the book writing process, here’s my step-by-step guide to writing a book with no experience.
- Create an outline. This doesn’t have to be detailed. It could just be a bulleted list of all the things you know you want to happen in your story. It could be a chapter-by-chapter outline. Whatever works for you is what you should create. But the outline is the baseline. Having that will help you get to the end of the story.
- Schedule writing time. Create a writing schedule and block off time to write. Show up for that time, and chip away at the story. It’s going to take a long time to write a book. At least, at first. But the more you write, the faster you go, and you’ll find that you get more done in your writing time.
- Keep writing until the story is finished, then edit. This is not something that people like to do, but I recommend writing until it’s all out of you. That way, when you go back to edit, you don’t have to switch back to writing. Writing is different than editing, and it takes different parts of your brain. Give yourself the gift of not having to switch back and forth.
- Edit your work, then hire an editor. Editors are good people. They take your brain chaos and make it story-shaped. Even if you edit the book yourself, you don’t have the outside perspective, and it’s impossible to make all the edits when you’re so close to the story.
And that’s about it. I mean, mostly.
Yeah, each phase is going to take a lot longer than a little point in a list. But you knew that.
And your writing process is going to be different than everyone else’s, so just do what works for you. And, if you’re the type that wants to get the book finished, I have some more advice.
How to Write a Book in 7 Days
Sometimes, fast drafting is the way to go. If you have no experience writing books but know your brain chemicals want you to get in and out of the story fast, maybe writing a book in a week is for you.
If you want to know how to write a book in 7 days, you’re going to follow the advice I gave earlier. But your’e also going to add writing sprints to your plan. That’s basically where you set a timer and write until it goes off. You’ll be doing that maybe 5-10 times a day for 7 days.
Yeah. It’s a lot. And I don’t recommend it unless you know how to sit at a keyboard for a really long time. It’s doable, though. This post on how to write 10,000 words a day should help.
How Do You Write a Book?
Every writer is different, and there is no right way. How do you get words on the page? How did you write your first book with no experience? Have you ever tried to write a book in 7 days?