Would you like to have someone to share ideas with and check on your progress? Someone to help you determine the structure of your book and give tips on your writing style? And what about keeping you accountable?
Many books – including (auto) biographies – start with an exciting scene in the intro or the first chapter. Once the reader is engaged, the writer starts explaining what happened before. This often works better than starting a book at the beginning (once upon a time …).
Planning to write a biography or a story about something you have experienced? Then be sure to take notes or keep a diary right now. Then you don’t have to do everything by heart. The fact is, you will have forgotten a large part by then. Think about what you did on August 29, 2014. No clue or just a vague idea? Exactly. So write down as much as possible: emotions, important conversations, events and so on.
Do you want to make the main characters from the book anonymous? Then don’t write with the fake names, but use the actual names to keep your emotions as pure as possible during the writing process. When your book is ready, you can easily do a find and replace and change all Pauls to Johns with one push of a button.
How long should a book be? That depends entirely on your purpose, font size, budget, type of paper, etc. In general you can say that a printed book contains between 10,000 and 40,000 words. Of course the calculation is different if you only publish it as an e-book. In that case, don’t focus blindly on length but on the relevance of your story.
The back cover has only limited space. It needs to include your bio and still be under 300 words.
Schedule writing time in your agenda and manage expectations towards the people around you. Towards the end there’s always a final sprint. So keep this in mind.
Finishing is just as important as starting. At some point a text is finished. After handing it in, there will be enough time to make any minor adjustments. So don’t worry. If you never let it go, you can never publish it. This will disappoint both readers and yourself.
Can’t get into the flow? You don’t need to do something completely different, just do something useful for your book:
Go for a walk.
Do some research.
Read the works of others for inspiration.
Review what you’ve written and trim down on unnecessary words without compromising on the content. Always make a backup of the original just in case you need it later on.
Search for unwanted words in your text: empty words such as nice, that, just, then, almost, very, something and so on that can be deleted or replaced. Avoid words such as become, will, can, go. See where also, usually and still are relevant. Also cut down on your punctuation mark usage. Make it easy to read and understand.
Reward yourself when you’ve written something.
Brainfood for writers: my go-to snack is water and nuts. Check out my Writers Recipes for inspiration on food, straight from my writing week in Mallorca.
Alternatively, do some writing that is not directly related to your book:
Write a blog post.
Do an exercise in writing where you describe the experience of your senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. How many types of red can you describe? Can you get the essence of your first kiss down on paper? Create a landscape based only on the sounds.
Do a braindump: take a few key words and then keep on writing without paying any attention to the sentence structure or grammar. Just go with the flow.
Don’t reinvent the wheel, like I did. As the author and co-author of more than 30 books, writing coach for hundreds of people and organizer of 20 writing retreats, I have finally found the best system for writing a good book: the ‘Reverse Writing’ method. If you begin at the end and create a good structure before you start writing, you will be able to follow your energy, instead of the page numbers.
Learn all tips & tricks in the live online workshop
Everything you need to turn your idea into a bestseller: practical advice, examples, and inspiration about writing, publishing, and promoting your book. Check out the ‘from idea to book’ workshop.
Private writing coaching is a unique opportunity to work on your book with my personal guidance and support. Book a single strategy session or plan a series of 1-on-1 calls. Do you want the best for your book?
A writing retreat in an exotic location?
During the online writing retreat@home or an all-inclusive retreat on my favorite islands or in the French Alps, you will work with like-minded people and get 1-on-1 guidance. The daily workshops help to get started, followed by focused writing time, delicious food, and personal guidance & feedback. Where will we go?
The book ‘Reverse Writing’
Learn my Reverse Writing method (start with the back cover) in my brand new, the super-comprehensive book ‘Reverse Writing’ and the companion workbook. You will find a step-by-step explanation, lots of examples, inspiration, and practical tips about writing, promotion, and publishing your book.
Original ideas and proven formats for your next bestseller
A successful book starts with a good idea. Check out the 10 best ‘formulas’ I’ve found for successful non-fiction books. Each of these ten proven formats gives you a different perspective, inspiration, and examples you can adapt for your own book. Subscribe to my ‘interested in writing’ list for book inspiration & tips and immediately receive the PDF with 10 ideas for a successful non-fiction book.