7 Easy Tips to Enjoy Writing a Book!
By: Michelle Pearce, PhD
Most of us don’t think writing a book will be “easy” or “fun,” but that doesn’t have to be the case. I’ve written three books and co-authored a fourth, and I’ve enjoyed the process of writing each one. My most recent book, Night Bloomers: 12 Principles for Thriving in Adversity, was an absolute delight to write. So much so that sometimes I lament the fact that it’s finished!
If you’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book, but are daunted by the prospect of doing so, I’d like to offer 7 tips I’ve learned through my book writing experience. If you apply these tips, you’ll find that not only is writing your book absolutely doable, but it’s also something you can enjoy each step of the way.
Pick a topic you are passionate about
Writing a book is like a long-term relationship or having a baby; it’s not a quick process and it has lots of ups and downs! You need to love your topic and have a lot to say about it. Choose a topic that you are truly interested in learning more about and one in which you feel you have something important to share with the rest of the world (or at least with your defined audience).
Create a detailed outline
I spend a lot of time creating a detailed outline for each book before I get started. This has proved to be an excellent time investment and helps me stay on track with the overall theme and organization of the book as I write.
I plan out the chapters and create a table of contents. Then, I write one to two paragraphs describing the contents of that chapter (which, by the way, you’ll need to do for your book proposal anyway).
Before I start writing the chapters, I also go through my materials and cut and paste into a Word document any relevant information that I know I want to include in the chapter. When it comes time to write each chapter, I have a steppingstone for the content and it makes writing feel less overwhelming.
Plan ahead and set a realistic schedule
Then stick to it! For the last book, Night Bloomers, I decided that I would take a year to write it. I then worked backwards to determine how much time I’d need to devote to writing monthly, weekly, and then daily to meet this one-year goal.
I had 13 chapters plus an introduction and preface, so I needed to write one chapter every three and a half weeks. I then looked at my schedule and determined how many days a week I could write and how many hours on those days I could spend writing.
Then, I went into my calendar and blocked off time for writing on those days for the rest of the year. Blocking off this time made it so that I couldn’t overcommit myself, and it made writing the book a priority in my life.
Follow Your Desire
Writing a book can feel overwhelming, even if you have a realistic schedule and you’re sticking to it. For Night Bloomers, although I did everything I just described above under planning ahead and setting a schedule, I also let myself write whenever I had the desire to write. Sometimes this meant I did more writing during a week than planned; some weeks it meant I did less.
The fascinating thing to me was that although I gave myself a year, I was finished in six months! By following my energy and making writing the book a fun treat, it seemed to just write itself.
Choose a mindset for why you are writing the book
Some days you just don’t feel in the writing mood. I found that by focusing on why I was writing the book and who I was writing the book for was incredibly helpful for getting myself into the right mindset for writing. I wrote my mindset onto a piece of paper and taped it to the wall beside my writing schedule, so I would see it every time I sat down to write.
Night Bloomers is about developing resilience and becoming “more” after experiencing adversity, loss, and grief—I call this “blooming in the dark.” Every time I sat down to write, I would first remind myself that my goal was to be in service to those who were hurting and needed hope, healing, and love. I set my mind to be a conduit for a divine message for these individuals and told myself this could be easy and fun!
Setting my mindset before each writing session fueled my writing and also got me into the appropriate voice and tone for the book. It’s one of the big reasons I think I finished in half the time I had allotted myself and why I enjoyed writing it so much. I also think it made the book more compassionate and helpful for people who are going through a difficult time.
Seek support, but only from a select few
My writing coach and my Dad are the only two people who read my books before I share them with others. I chose these individuals because I trust them, they care about me and my work, and because they are incredible writers themselves.
I later share my manuscript with a few others who are in the relevant audience for whom I wrote the book. Remember, the people you choose should be your cheerleaders, giving you honest feedback, but in a way that doesn’t crush your ego or your idea!
Read a lot!
While you are writing, read a lot of other books in the same genre to get your mind in the right place. Choose excellent examples of books in your genre so that you can live into this kind of writing yourself.
I also recommend reading books on writing itself, again about your specific craft and about good writing in general. I read books by Stephen King, Anne Lamott, Laura Oliver, and many others, all of whom are writers I respect.
Writing a book is done like every other big thing in life—one step at a time. Or in our case, one word at a time. Applying these 7 tips will help your words flow with greater ease. I’d love to know how these tips work for you. You can reach out to me on my website www.drmichellepearce.com or on Instagram @bloomwithdrmichelle. Happy writing!
About the Author and Night Bloomers
Michelle Pearce, PhD is a clinical psychologist and Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is the author of the new book Night Bloomers: 12 Principles for Thriving in Adversity.
What if there are people who, just like some flowers, require the dark to bloom?
When we are plunged into the dark and difficult times in life, one of three things can happen next: the darkness can destroy us; it can leave us relatively unchanged, or it can help to transform us. In this hope-inspiring guide, clinical psychologist, Michelle Pearce, PhD, provides practical tools and wisdom for transforming and thriving in adversity and loss. Just as some flowers require the dark to bloom, there are some people who do their best growing and becoming during dark and challenging times. With a compassionate voice, Pearce shares her clinical expertise, her own journey through the dark, and inspiring stories of other Night Bloomers to help individuals learn how to heal and transform their lives not in spite of their difficult times, but because of them.
Buy Night Bloomers
Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780486842370