How to Begin a Book

How to Begin a Book

You have finally decided to share that idea you’ve had for ages with the world! Congratulations! 

Everyone has a story to tell. Most business leaders and entrepreneurs have valuable stories the world deserves to hear.

Deciding to write a book, however, can be intimidating, especially if it is your first time.

How do you begin? 

This question can be paralyzing. You have this great inspirational message, and there is no one better to bring your vision to an audience than you. The truth is, the weight of the idea itself can be your primary hindrance in beginning the writing process.

That’s okay! What you are feeling is normal.

Perhaps you’re thinking, what if nobody gets to read that book? What if the book ends up terrible? What if, after months of hard work, no one wants to read your story? 

What you are feeling is natural. Even published authors feel anxiety when working on a new project. We all dwell in that uncertainty. To begin the process of writing a book, publishing it, and presenting it to a global audience can be intimidating even for executives who are fearless in the boardroom.

Rather than thinking about what could go wrong, think of the value that your book will bring the world (or your industry). Think of the opportunities for success your audience will discover. Focus on that and you can never go wrong.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. Aside from the right attitude, strategy is imperative.

We can help you with that!

Yes, beginning a book is daunting. A blank page intimidates—many authors have struggled with penning the first paragraph, let alone the first chapter.

“Where do I begin?”

“What if my first line is boring?”

“Is there a foolproof method for writing the first paragraph?”

These are questions first-time authors ask themselves. 

But you know what? You don’t have to feel that way.

Wondering how to begin a book when you’ve never written one before? Leaders Press can give you expert help on that! 

It takes five steps to begin writing your masterpiece. So are you ready to be an author? 

1.       A Safe Workspace

What does a safe space mean? We are not talking about physical safety so much as a place where you can be confident and free of distractions. A place where you can be comfortable.

It is a designated place where you can be yourself, reflect, pour out your thoughts and let words flow out like endless rain into a paper cup. You can tell my safe workspace includes the Beatles on Spotify.

Your Workstation

Sitting too much can be detrimental to your health, but you can’t stand the whole time you are writing. Standing and taking breaks from sitting can be good for your physical health and your overall concentration. It wouldn’t hurt to stretch those legs while you are in the zone, right?

Whether you use a standing desk, a movable desk, or a motorized adjustable desk, this health-boosting mobile option can help increase your productivity.

How about chairs? Gaming chair with high-density foam, ergonomic chair with mesh for lumbar support, or perhaps an old-fashioned folding chair? The bottom line is, whichever seat makes you feel at ease will be the best for your writing

We highly recommend making sure your desk area is always decluttered. Clutter can be incredibly distracting. The chaos creates discomfort. Dedicate some time to maintaining a workspace that puts your mind at ease.

Lighting

Lighting affects productivity. Bright lights may strain your eyes. On the other hand, dim lights can make you want to doze off instead of write. Warm lighting creates a sense of relaxation. Mid-toned lighting helps you stay alert. Natural light works best but is limited to daytime. 

Find out which lighting works best for your creativity.

Sound

Sound can stimulate as well as distract. Find a serene spot where you can focus. If your options are limited, wear noise-canceling headphones to block out the noise. Maybe play some relaxing tunes while you’re at it. Just not the Beatles, though. I called dibs. 

Scent

Scent also influences productivity. Certain fragrances uplift mood and enhance performance. Aromatherapy has existed for thousands of years. Diffusing essential oils can help you relax and write. Certain scents can alleviate stress and even trigger creativity.  

Medium

The final, most crucial part of your writing workspace is what you will actually write on. Do you write on a laptop or a desktop? Do you go lo-fi with a typewriter or old school with a journal and pen? It is up to you. Once you start writing your book, we highly suggest that you stick to one medium.

2.       Find Similar Titles

Now that you have a comfy spot to write your book, it is time for research. You may have an idea of what you want to write about, but not how you want to structure it. It can help to purchase several titles that you think are in a similar niche or are targeting the same audience as your future book. Before you write your book, study how other authors wrote theirs. Revisit some of your favorite books, or check out the best sellers on Amazon or USA Today.

When reading these materials, note the style of writing, the structure, the font, the book cover—anything that can help you visualize your book once it’s published. 

Do not get intimidated when you read content from other authors. You may ask yourself: “Can I write as well as these people did?” 

Keep in mind the distinct possibility that these authors hired a publishing company to help them write their book. Either way, they started right where you are now. 

3.       Create an Outline

Have you ever wondered how your favorite TV show lasted more than three seasons? Do you think the writers created the story arc over a single cup of coffee at Starbucks? Do you think the showrunners simply tried to wing the plot every episode?

No. For most shows, the ending is determined before the pilot is even filmed.  

Did you know that the same applies to business books? The secret is to begin with what your high school teacher taught you about how to write term papers. Start with an outline.

You don’t start a book by simply putting pen to paper. You start with a framework and a target word count. Your word count will determine how many pages your book will be and your outline is the backbone of your story.

In your outline, you have to headline each chapter, each point, and idea. You may be thinking: “That sounds like the whole book?” It’s vital, but your outline is not the same as your book. 

Think of your outline as a roadmap. That roadmap will determine how your readers will experience each chapter.

How does this help you write a book? For starters, outlining organizes your thoughts so you can figure out where to start.

Without an outline, it will be extremely difficult to pen those first lines. Why? Because you have a ton of ideas occupying your mind and you won’t know which idea to share first.

With an outline, you can design the chronology of these ideas and make sure you remember the important ones. 

The best way to begin your outline is by listing your ideas. They don’t have to make sense yet. Just brainstorm all the topics you can think of without regard to how the outline will come out. Once you have all of these topics, try grouping similar ones and think of a central topic tying those ideas together.

Next, try arranging these central topics chronologically, based on how you want your readers to take their journey. Do not second guess yourself. Once you finish the outline, you can sleep on it.

Then, when you are fully rested, take a look at your outline again. 

Your outline doesn’t have to be absolute. You can make changes along the way. What’s important is that you have developed a working outline and, most importantly, a starting point.

4.       Plot your Schedule

Don’t get too excited yet. Before you begin to write your book, create a writing plan. You need a schedule. Based on your target word count, think of how many words you can write per session. From there, you can determine how many writing sessions you need.

Let’s say you are writing a hundred-page book. One hundred pages roughly amounts to 30,000 words. If your target is 500 words per session, that means you should have around sixty writing sessions.

Then determine how frequently you can write each week. Be realistic. As a business leader, time is a luxury. So ask yourself, is it realistic to schedule at least one writing session every week? 

Once you have committed to your number of writing sessions per week, estimate how many months it will take you to finish your book.

Continuing with our example, if you need sixty sessions to finish your book, and you can write three times a week, then it will take you twenty weeks to reach your goal.

This means you need to plot your schedule on a five-month calendar.

Do not make arbitrary goals. If you can only write once a week, so be it. What’s important is for you to develop a writing plan you can stick to. 

5.       Begin to Write

Finally, here we are. D-day. You have set up your safe writing environment, done your due diligence in researching similar titles, crafted a detailed outline, and plotted your schedule.

Now focus on that first chapter. You will be surprised how useful your outline is. Look at the first item of chapter one, and write your first sentence. 

This is how to begin a book. Make this positive—your overall journey will be quicker because you took these steps first.

Finishing your Manuscript

After months, you are finally done writing. With your manuscript in hand, the next step is to edit it yourself or hire a professional book editor. 

For your book cover, you can use drag and drop graphic design tools like Canva or you can hire a graphic artist.

Finally, you are all set! You can publish your book on platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing or Barnes & Noble Press. If you do not want to self-publish, you can pitch your book directly to publishers or hire a literary agent to represent your book.

You’ve poured your heart and soul into this book and your dream is to make it a best-seller. If you need a little help, turn to experts like Leaders Press and consult on how your book can become a best-seller on Amazon or according to USA Today.

And even if your book idea is still in the idea stage, we can help. 

Your future is at hand.  Can you picture yourself one year from now having a best-seller as your calling card? Let’s talk.  

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