How do you write a book? What are the basics of writing a nonfiction book, such as an autobiography or biography or historical acim? How do you proceed? Having written 22 nonfiction books, I have learned a thing or two about writing a book. Here’s some of those things
Before they even get started, beginning authors can have stage fright. They can have feelings of unworthiness, and/or suffer from a lack of experience or know-how. It can be overwhelming. These are normal feelings. Lousy but normal. Feelings which can stop you from writing your book. Don’t let them. Write your book! Newbie authors put themselves under a lot of pressure. As a beginner author you are inexperienced, insecure, and in over your head. And you’ll be that way until you write, and finish, your book. This is normal. This is OK. Here’s a little insight which can help you overcome or set aside those feelings of fear and thoughts of being unworthy and/or not up to the task. “It’s not about you, it’s about the story. You are just the messenger, bringing the story and/or facts and figures and details to the reader. You are the messenger. The delivery person.”
You do NOT have to be the best writer the world has ever seen. Yes, you can (and will) be less than perfect. Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. And it won’t be. Neither are you. Neither am I. Nobody is perfect.
How old should you be to write a book? As old as you are. There are teenage authors, 20-30 something authors, 50-60 year old authors and old, really old, authors. Age is just a number. If you have something to say or share, and feel compelled to say or share in print, be an author. At any age and every age. Age is just a number. Write your book!
What do you do if you want to write a book but can’t write well? How do you write a book on a computer if you are computer illiterate? Write it anyway. You can use other ways to tell your story. Write it on paper, using a pen or pencil. Dictate it if you are more comfortable speaking rather than writing. You can have it transcribed after you do it.
The first thing about writing a nonfiction book is to have something worth writing about. Preferably something of interest to YOU and hopefully of interest to others. And you also need motivation. Why do you want to write your book? Yes, it’s important to know why. If you aren’t sure, or don’t know, ask yourself, “Why am I writing this book?” To get rich? To become famous? To have people like and admire you? To educate? To impart wisdom? To honor something or someone? To help yourself and improve your life? To help others? It is a good thing to know why you are motivated to write your book.
OK, so you want to write a book. What’s the first thing to do when getting started writing your book? Figure out a good title. What’s the main point of your book? That is the basis for your title. Yes, having a good title is important. And often difficult. Until you come up with the “perfect” title, you can use a working title, i.e. call it anything, just don’t let not having the perfect title at this stage stop you from starting your book!
Next, do an outline. Why? Because you need to outline your book – BEFORE you write it. Why? You need to do an outline so you know where you’re going, where you’ve been, and where you are when you are writing your book. The objective of the outline is to list ALL the things in the book that you want to have, or ought to have, in your book, all the things that you want your readers to read. This outline will become the basis, the plan, the blueprint, for what’s in your book.
Once you have finished your outline, and done the research you need to do (if any) you are ready to start writing the First Draft of your book. What’s a First Draft? It’s the first writing of your book. From beginning to end. The First Draft is often lousy; bad spelling mistakes, bad/no/incorrect punctuation, disorganized. Ugh, a mess. Not to worry, that’s normal, and that’s what rewriting is for. When doing the First Draft, write everything you can on your subject, no matter what it is, following and expanding on your outline as you go. You will add stuff and remove stuff later, when you rewrite/edit your First Draft.