So you want to write a book, but how? It’s difficult to imagine accomplishing such a task while mothering and running a home. I just did it, and here are my six best tips for meeting your goal of writing a book.
In January 2016 I was determined to finally take steps towards reaching my goal of writing a book. I am a stay-at-home-mom of two little boys who we are in the process of adopting from foster care. Our days are often filled with therapy appointments, case worker visits, and all-things-typical-parenting like wiping noses, changing diapers, and not getting enough sleep.
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I’ve wanted to write a book for a few years now, and my experience with the foster adoption process gave me a unique message to share with the world. There are many reasons to write a book, some of which include passive income, a bucket-list goal of being published, or to see lives changed through the message that is shared. My reason for writing includes each of those goals to some extent.
Shortly after deciding that writing a book was my goal for 2016, I enrolled in an online course to help me get there. I truly could not have accomplished this goal without the framework that Self-Publishing School laid out for me. The instructor walked me through each and every step from first idea, to the writing process, to publishing and marketing my very first book. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to be an author!
In addition to what I learned in the course, I grew in self-discipline and personal motivation as I learned to work harder and smarter than I ever have.
If writing a book is something you’ve ever considered doing, here are my top six tips for reaching that goal (even if you’re in the busy, tiring, trenches of motherhood like I am).
1) Get up early
There was no way I could have finished my book without getting up before my family. It was hard, I won’t sugar-coat it. “Early” is going to look different for every person, and for me, it was typically between 6-6:30AM. I have a husband, a four year old, and at that time, a five month old who still wasn’t (still isn’t) sleeping through the night.
I was tired.
After about a week though, getting up early became my new normal and I began looking forward to the quiet 60-90 minutes I had to myself before the rest of the house began waking up. I would get up, make my coffee, spend a little time reading my Bible, and then begin writing.
2) Start with a brainstorming session
One of the most helpful aspects of writing my book was the hour long brainstorming session I started with. I knew I wanted to write about foster adoption, and I knew I wanted to change the way the church, and believers, think about it.
I began with a large brown paper bag taped to my wall, cut at the seams to be as big as possible. I spent at least an hour mapping out every single thing I wanted to share in my book. This included personal stories, other people’s stories, relevant passages of Scripture, anecdotes, important dates, feelings, and more.
Don’t skip this brainstorming session! It set-up the framework of my book, and even my chapter titles, in a very simple and efficient way. The course I took goes into a lot more detail about how to do this, and, in my opinion, it’s probably the most important aspect of the book writing process.
3) Use whatever word processing system works best for you
If you want to accomplish your goal of writing a book, this isn’t the time to learn a new fancy piece of writing software. That can come later. Use what you know now so you can get writing! My go-to writing app of choice is Evernote. I love having the app on my phone and ended up doing a decent amount of my writing in waiting rooms during my boys weekly appointments.
I did end up moving my work around a bit as I progressed in the writing process. I moved to goggle docs at one point so I was able to share portions of my book easily with others, and then I finished editing in Word because that was what my editor used and I was already familiar with it.
Do what works best for you, and what you are easily able to navigate.
4) Commit to writing a certain amount each week
I personally committed to writing an hour a day, five times a week. I typically didn’t write on Sunday’s, and there was usually one other day a week I couldn’t write either. I knew that I needed to get my hour in those five other days or I would never finish my book.
I have never been good with setting tangible goals like this one. I learned that this particular goal was one of the biggest reasons I saw success with finishing my book. Do what works best for you and your personal schedule, but don’t neglect to set a goal.
5) Set a deadline for publishing
I originally set to publish in 90 days from the time I started writing. That didn’t happen, but I’m ok with it! We ended up moving about 30 days into the writing process, and that slowed me down a bit as we packed, moved, and settled into our new home. I also knew that being a tired and busy mom could easily slow me down too. Some days I just didn’t have the energy to write another sentence.
I am set to publish my book Dignity and Worth: Seeing the Image of God in Foster Adoption on June 5th, only 46 days past my original goal (sign-up here to read the first chapter for free). Not too shabby! Without a goal in mind (even if you don’t meet it exactly), it may be difficult to finish the project you begin. Set a deadline, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss it a little. Life happens, and that’s ok.
6) Just write
This is the biggest piece of advice I can give you. Just begin writing. Don’t think too hard about it, and (this one was so hard for me) resist the urge to edit as you go. My first draft was rough, but it was done.
“Done is better than perfect”, as I learned in Self-Publishing School. I worked with a fantastic editor (who I would love to recommend to anyone interested), and she helped me make my very rough draft the best version it could be.
The editing stage will come, but for now, just write and get it out there. This will help you accomplish your goal of writing a book.
I cannot recommend Self-Publishing School enough. If it wasn’t for this online course, which includes videos, PDF’s, and a mastermind community to be a part of, I would not have been able to finish my book as quickly as I did. The value of having direct access to successful, bestselling authors, while I worked to reach my own goal of writing a book was truly priceless.