How do you write a book?

My first published book

It’s a question posed to me by young and old alike. Kids with the wide eyed look of awe and curiosity, men and women, even teens, with a dreamy or hopeful look. Whenever I make an appearance as an author, I can guarantee someone will ask,

How do you write a book?

My answer: Start writing.

Every book starts out with the desire to say something. It starts out as an idea and can only grow into a story if you tell it. The book will happen – or not – way down the road. The story is already there, inside your head and burning in your heart. It wants to get out. But it won’t happen if you don’t let it.

Don’t think you can write? Time constraints bogging you down? Draw a blank when you face the blank page? First off, welcome to the club. We all feel that way.

Here are some steps to help you get going.

  1. Think it through, maybe like a movie trailer. If you can see the picture, you can eventually convey it. The seed is planted
  2. Tell it out loud. Ok, you don’t want to get caught talking to yourself, so you can record it (or pretend to). When you feel comfortable, tell someone else. With a bit of nurturing, like the seed, your story will begin to sprout.
  3. Start writing. Of course the best way to do this is with paper and pen, or pencil. My favorite is a red mechanical pencil and a spiral notebook. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Just let the idea flow. Now you have a seedling, but it needs time and nurturing.

Now, this works with any sort of story you want to tell whether it’s a one hundred word picture book or a novel, a memoir or a text book. So, if you want to know how to write a book, my best advice, start writing. How it turns out in the next year, or two, or five, depends on how you tend it.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Write on!


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