How To Become A Writer: A Beginner's Guide
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Writing A Book For The First Time

I Started Writing A Book For The First Time

Great News! I’ve started writing my first ever book for the first time and I’m really excited! If all writers and authors feel what I’m feeling, then wow - what an addiction!

If you’re new to writing like me then you will be in for a fantastic ride when you start writing your own first book.

Ok, I must come down to earth now and give you my thoughts and account of my first chapter.

I'm not going to say much about my first book except it's mostly a fictional story with some added true parts. If you want to read it then you will have to stay to the end when I get it published.

Just so you know, and I want to make this very clear at the start of my Book Writing Project” is that I am no English-grammar whizz with qualifications coming out of my ears. I want to tell you straight that I didn’t like school and my grades were average at best.

I have no advantage in writing with a fancy education behind me. And maybe that’s a good thing - as current school systems aren’t exactly successful.

I left school at 16 and even skipped my last exam because I had already been accepted to join the army. So school for me was something I had to get through; not something I enjoyed.

Ok. Now with that off my chest let me share with you what writing my book for the first time involved.
How I’m Keeping Track Of Writing My First Book

How I'm Keeping Track of My First Book's Progress

Tool #1: By Using Statistics
One of the things I’m doing whilst writing my first book is to keep track of my progress. I think this is important so I know how far I've come and how long it's taking me to write my first novel. It can also give me additional targets such as those I mentioned in my book writing plan to keep me on track. I don’t want to spend years writing my first book.

One of the ways I have started to keep track of how my first-time book is going is to keep a count of how many words I’m writing.

Why am I counting in words and not pages?

Simple really – I want to keep a more realistic statistic of my progress and the different sizes of font will change the amount of pages. Larger font = more pages, smaller font = less pages. So it’s more accurate I think to count in words.

So, one of my statistics is “Number of Words Written”.

A “statistic” by the way is a number (of an amount of something) and when compared with other numbers of the same type (such as words written) you can gauge how well (or not) something is going over a period of time.

I have made a graph based on how many words I am writing for each chapter – and how long it takes to write each chapter. I will include this statistic in my future Book Writing Project posts for you to see my progress.

So, words written so far for my first chapter is: 3,066

But how long did it take? I’ll tell you shortly as it’s not good news...

Tool #2: By Keeping To My Book Writing Plan

As I mentioned (before I started writing my first book), it’s good to have a plan, as this also helps keep you on track.

This plan is actually important and I am making sure I stick to it like glue. Failing to stick to your plan will cause you to do other things that are unrelated to writing your first book and extend how long your novel takes.

So keep to your plan and adjust it as needed, to keep you on track.

The First 2 Main Obstacles To Writing My First Book That Really Messed Me Up

My Obstacles To Writing My First Book

I mentioned earlier that I wrote for my first chapter a total of 3060 words; what I didn’t tell you was how long it took me – and it’s a little shameful.

To write the first chapter of my book it took me 8 months and 4 days. What?!!

Why so long?

There are 2 factors that I narrowed it down to, which are:

  1. Not taking the writing game seriously
  2. Mixing the two functions of “Writer” and “Editor”

Let me explain…

Obstacle #1: Not Taking The Writing Game Seriously

Ok, so yes I do have a full-time job which can be a little tiring, and as I’m writing a book for the first time I don’t have any additional income to allow me to become a full-time writer.

So the “time-factor” of having less time to write because I have a full-time job could seem to be an obstacle to writing. However, looking more closely I realised I was actually treating the writing game as a hobby.

Although I enjoy writing and it seems to come naturally to me, I am not thinking of it as a serious endeavour. If you just play at something and not take it seriously then all you will get is a half-hearted outcome with no real product at the end.

If I want to become a successful writer then I’m going to need to become serious about the whole writing game. And when I mean “serious” I don’t mean in a way that is miserable and not fun; but what I do mean is being very dedicated. You can be serious (very dedicated) and have fun at writing your first book at the same time.

Writing should be fun!

Obstacle #2: Mixing the 2 Functions of “Writer” and “Editor”

Now you may or may not know this (I had to find out the hard way) that writing and editing are two entirely separate subjects (or functions) when it comes to book writing, or any other type of writing in fact.

A major mistake I made with writing the first chapter of my first book was to mix the jobs of writing and editing as I wrote. This is a BIG MISTAKE any new or first-time author can make.

Writing and editing have two different purposes and should not be mixed. A writer writes and an editor edits (corrects spelling, grammar, etc.). Simple!

I made the BIG MISTAKE of writing a few lines and then going back over them to check for spelling etc. I basically was being a writer one minute and an editor the next.

What is wrong with self-editing as you go?

If you’re a writer you seriously interrupt your flow of thought and writing. You interrupt your creativeness which is what a writer needs to have flow.

As you will see (with how long my first chapter took) I have wasted so much time on writing my first book simply because I kept stopping every few sentences to make sure the grammar and spelling was ok. I then had to re-read what I had written to get back into the flow of the story again; to regain my train of thought.

This was damaging to my creative flow and extended my writing time ENORMOUSLY.

So don’t write and edit at the same time. Editing should be done at the end of writing; maybe at the end of a day’s writing, or the whole book. Whatever you decide. Just as long as the editing doesn’t interrupt your creative writing flow.

At any one time; either be a writer, or be an editor – don’t be both!

Have Your Say

Have you written a book? How did you feel about writing a book for the first time (if you have) and what obstacles did you first encounter? Let me know below.
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