Watch and Learn

2 Ways to Write Your Book by Tenesha L. Curtis of Volo Press Books. 


Should I Write a Book?


People ask themselves this question daily. But there are some who decide they should go ahead and do it. There are others who think better of it and find another way to express their idea. Still others decide to write a book, just not with their own hands, and hire a ghostwriter. And then there's you! You are thinking about writing a book, but you aren't sure what you need to consider when making this decision. Let's walk through this topic to help you make up your mind once and for all. 

People Who Write Books Want to Write Books

Well, duh, Tenesha! is probably what you're thinking, and I understand having that thought at first blush. But what I'm emphasizing here is that people who write books (especially books that are finished quickly and need minimal editing) have a deep drive to see the project through with their own blood, sweat, and tears (so many tears!). There are some folks who say they want to write a book because what they really want is to have their name show up on the cover of a published work. Writing a book and having your name on the cover of a book are two wildly different things. You can write a book for someone else (i.e., be a ghostwriter) and have your own name never see the light of day. You can also have your name, even your photo and bio, on a book, and not even know how to read or write (writing via dictation and a ghostwriter). So, think about what you're really after. Do you want to see your name on the cover of a published book by any means necessary or do you want to pull a world together out of thin air, translate it into words on a page, and then go through the editing and publication process so that you produce a publicized work that you've actually written yourself? 

I can't answer that question for you, but it's an important thing to think about. 

People Who Write Books Make Time to Write Books

If you've decided you really do want to write your manuscript yourself, the next thing to consider is whether or not you have the time to do that. Or, more precisely, are you willing to make the time to write your book. The average book on the market today is somewhere around 75,000 words long. Depending upon how fast you write, whether or not you're working from an outline (and how detailed it is), and how quick of a thinker you are, 75,000 words can take you anywhere from a few hours to a few years to write. 
Carving out time to write your book may entail sacrificing yoga, classes, or some regular group outing. On a daily basis, it could mean giving up some sleep, work, or family time. Are you willing to make these kinds of sacrifices in order to get your book finished

People Who Write Books are Persistent 

Stamina is key to completing a project as involved as writing a book. If you don't have the discipline, time management skills, or attention span to focus on a super-long-term project, you might want to reconsider what you're doing. If you struggle with focus, it might be helpful to hire a book coach or pull an accountability partner on board to help you stay on track with your writing goals.

People Who Write Books are Skilled (most of the time)

Least important (apparently) of anything we've discussed so far is skill. There are a couple of reasons for this (in my humble opinion). The first is that it seems that people who have the discretionary income to spend on books are not as discerning as you might think. There are many books (and paintings, films, sculptures, songs, etc.) that have been published that I was baffled to see found massive commercial and / or popular success. You may have felt the same way about some books, bands, or movies. Obviously, you don't have to be a literary genius to please the average person, which helps make authorship a less daunting job. The second reason is one I'm not confused about at all: editing. The developmental editing process has a sole purpose of taking a 'meh' manuscript and setting it on the path to becoming a beguiling book. So, even if you hand over something that looks like a kindergartner wrote it, as long as you have an editor you feel comfortable communicating with, you can get your main ideas across in a way your readers will love. 

That being said, having some level of natural talent with writing makes creating a manuscript much faster, easier, and more enjoyable than having to strain to manifest every other sentence. If you think you want to enhance your skills a little more before you start your book, consider writing shorter pieces like poetry or flash fiction and work your way up to novel-length pieces and beyond.

Another key to writing prowess is reading. Like athletes watching video of their opponents or reading the rules of a board game before you start playing it, reading books is the best way to increase your writing skill. That's because, in theory, you're seeing what a good story reads like. Or, for you nonfiction artists, you're seeing information laid out in an easy-to-understand way for the average reader. Once you're familiar with what engaging, easily absorbed copy looks like, it won't be as hard for you to emulate that in your own writing. 

Is writing a book yourself the best use of your time and money? Get a free ghostwriting quote to help you think it through!

Written by Tenesha L. Curtis is an independent author and the founder of Volo Press Books.