On Your Marks! ..Set? ….Wri-i-t-t-te!
How to start writing a book
Yes, all talk and no writing makes teaching waste of time or even boring. We need the face the challenge headlong because that is why you started this training in the first instance. This training would amount to nothing if it does not lead you to start writing something. But the first step to becoming an author is gathering information and of course that is why you are reading this material. So that brings us to the number step to start writing -
1. Read books – merely reading this material has given you some insight on communicating while writing, you have noted the punctuation, the chapter system and command of imagery. That means when you start writing you have to take advantage of the knowledge you have gathered. So, reading is one way you prepare yourself as a budding author and you will still need to keep the habit when you are more matured. I mentioned how I “devoured” the books in Dr. B C Mbata’s library, I had also read many novels and magazines before then. All these formed the foundation for what I am teaching now.
Note that even though I encourage you to read, you must not read things that do not edify you. Simply, don’t read non-sense. You can do yourself more good if you read books relating to the field you wish to write on. Read blog posts, read novels and don’t forget to read your bible well if you want to be a Christian author. I feel bad when I read people quote the bible out of context or cross from one version of bible to the other. Stick to one version while writing and make sure you copy and paste when using bible references. So your references will be accurate.
If you must write well, you must also be a reader.
2. Discover the kind of writer you are – You don’t just start on a subject just because others are writing about that. I read one pastor’s book on FAITH and in a book of less than hundred pages he quoted David Oyedepo more than twenty times. In my own understanding he demarketed himself. First David Oyedepo is an authority on the subject FAITH, again he does not have what it takes to write on that subject. You need to be original and that is why I told you to read and try to discover your field and develop that area. We will talk more on this ahead.
3. Create an outline – This will go a long way to help you take off, and if possible, also create each chapter heading. You not follow it strictly because as you write revelation will grow but it gives you a take off point and will guide you on your journey so that you don’t lose direction. There are books that you start at one point and then get lost in between; having outline will prevent that kind of ugly situation.
4. Don’t try to write a big/small book. Just put down what you have – I repeated myself on this point so much but it is such an important point that I cannot overdo it. You are passing information to targeted audience and they want to receive what you have. Just give what you have. Don’t preempt the size of the end product. There may be times your work is too skeletal just was the case with my first book. In that occasion the bookmaker will point it out as SUPBLtd did with one of my books. That is not what we are talking about this time. We are talking about a case when the author picks up one big book, counts the pages and then commences to write a book of that size. He will likely write out of point. Some authors will go online, copy and paste other people’s work. PIRACY! We will discuss that ahead.
5. Discipline yourself as to when to sit down and work on the book. It is difficult controlling yourself when you are your own boss but you must learn to bring your mind and body under control. You do this by choosing time and location for your writing. I used to run out of my home to a solitary place to write. It will be helpful if you tell your family/staff how you want to work within the set time. You may have to silence your phone, get a special laptop (if you can afford it) and a special desk. To be candid, unless you take very strict measures you will never be able to achieve anything
6. Conclude every writing you ever started - Make sure you conclude every book or writing you start before jumping to another one, leave nothing half done. Understand that it will likely take some time before you conclude the book but have it as a policy that you must finish it before you start another work. I have come across people who keep jumping from one manuscript to another; this not going to help you. One of the factors that could lead to this is Writer Block and I addressed it in this book.
7. Get others to read your manuscript and solicit their advice, but expect some to talk you down and others to flatter you, but both cases should not distract or discourage you. I post mine on my blog and Facebook and then watch for readers response. It is a good idea to use the services of paid proofreaders; they give professional touch to your book, especially because they are paid for it. They can also bring their wealth of experiences into your manuscript.
8. Join a writers club and where there is one, also join a coaching class – There is one group online, Authonomy; it is a group for budding author which I belonged. Publishers also go there to search for manuscripts they may adopt. I remember somebody asking to publish my book but when she discovered it was on religion, she backed out. In schools and universities there are often such groups. We run a coaching class for authors and will be glad to have you on board.
9. Get your book to a publisher that understands book-making. If you belong to a coaching class this will not be a problem. This may cost some money but it is a sure sign that you are determined to get published. We will say more about the Bookmaker ahead.
10. Get published no matter how small your manuscript is. This point is where most young authors make mistakes because they keep their manuscript with them and keep adding things. Some of the manuscript lose the original message and become a collection of confusing ideas, because they have missed-up the original idea with other things. Publish your work! It is one principal step forward.
Excerpt from my new book, My Journey to Becoming an Author