If you want to be successful – at writing a book or any other huge endeavor – your attitude and mindset will go a long way in determining your future success. Certainly there is talent and aptitude involved in everything, but with planning and perseverance – and a positive attitude – you can accomplish more than you can imagine.
Begin by considering the 5 W’s of your new book:
WHY do you want to write a book?
Authors around the globe come from a variety of industries and backgrounds, each with a different reason for wanting to get published:
- Authors of Non-fiction often use their books as business cards or resume “bullets” as a tangible acknowledgment of their expertise and experience
- Writers of Fiction have amazing and fantastical stories to share with enthusiastic readers, whether their tales involve intrigue, crime, travel, romance, or touch upon the paranormal or introspective
- Self-help Authors run the gamut from DIY to cooking – and everything in between – often specializing in how-to books for professionals to use to further their businesses and achieve their goals
- Writers of Collections compile everything from essays or blog posts to recipes, lists, and much-needed reference books, and provide wonderful opportunities to enlist other writers into a joint effort
- Authors of Memoirs have discovered an amazing and poignant way to preserve the lives of family and friends, and provide the ultimate and eternal gift – both to the author as well as their community
WHO is the intended audience for your book?
One of the first things you should consider with your book is, “Who will read it?” or better yet “Who do you want to read it?” By narrowing down your audience and considering their particular needs, slant and tastes as a group, you will find it easier to organize your thoughts and write a more effective book. Is your audience young or old? Highly educated in your material or reading to gain the knowledge they lack? Is your audience reading for pleasure or for information? Narrowing down an image of your typical reader will help you to address your reader clearly throughout your book, and to picture them reading over your shoulder as you write.
WHAT will you write about?
You probably had an idea in your head about WHAT your book would be about even before you committed to writing it. However, don’t feel obligated to hold tight to your first idea, as it will surely morph and develop as your book comes together. It is important to allow that evolution, as writing a book isn’t simply “coloring in between the lines,” but rather, it is more like drawing freeform.
Some authors like to outline first, while still others prefer to “write into the dark” and allow their book to evolve organically. Whatever writing style works best for you, the most important thing to consider when determining WHAT you will write about is how your book can fulfill your book goals. If you are writing nonfiction to gain credibility or use as a business tool, that will determine what you will write about. In other cases, thinking about your target audience can help you to determine exactly what you wish to write about.
WHEN will you write your book?
If there is one common woe among would-be writers, it is that they can’t find the time to write.
Here are some tips on making time work for you.
Schedule writing – If writing is important to you, then set aside time to write, put it on the calendar and (barring emergencies) stick to it.
Accountability – Be sure to tell others that you are writing a book, and ask them to help encourage you to keep going. Writing groups are a great way to keep going, as you are almost guilted into producing content regularly.
Deadlines – For many people (including myself) nothing inspires writing quite as much as a looming deadline. Whether you have an actual fixed deadline for your book or create a task/reward system for yourself, deadlines certainly help to get the creative juices flowing!
WHERE will you do most of your writing?
If you need to clear the mess off your kitchen table every time you wish to write, your full-length novel may suddenly become a short story due to your discomfort. If you set up a comfortable place for writing, you will be drawn to sit down and write. Whether you like a window seat with a view and total silence, a swivel desk chair with bright lights or a seat at a noisy coffee shop on a stool, finding what works for you is the first step towards creating your ideal, inspiring writing space.
By focusing upon the 5 W’s before getting started, you can pave the way for happy and productive writing.