Do you have an amazing book idea but not sure what to do with it? Are you hoping to write a book? Is 2023 the year you finally accomplish your dream?
Maybe you began the year with a big goal, but January got busy and your progress stalled. Did you get a few pages down? An outline? What got in your way? Whatever challenges you're facing this year, it's not too late! If your goal this year is to write your book, we can help.
One year is the perfect length of time to develop a writing schedule, meet your daily word count goal, and publish a book.
To do this, however, you may need some help. In this article, I'll share ten practical steps that will help you find the writing time you've always wanted—and finally write (and finish) that book begging for your attention!
The First 10 Steps to Write Your Book in 2023
What are the steps to write a book? How do you get started? What should you do right now, this week, and this month in order to start your book writing year off strong?
Want a free printable guide? I've created a printable one-page guide to the first ten steps to write a book. You can download your copy here to keep track of your progress throughout the next few days and weeks.
Now, let’s take a look at the steps.
1. Create your intention
Your intention is a brief statement of when, where, and how long you’ll write each day. If you plan ahead, you’re much more likely to follow through and actually write.
My intention looks like this: I’ll write my book every weekday morning from 8 am to 10 am at the café down the street.
Creating your intention for writing your book doesn't mean you need to know the book title for your story. You don't need to worry about book outline (just yet).
To write your intention, take a piece of paper. Write one sentence that fills in these blanks:
I am going to write my book every _________ from _________ to _________ at/in _________.
2. Find an accountability partner
Your intention only works if you follow through to complete it. Find one person you trust and ask them to hold you accountable to following your intention.
Not sure who you want as your accountability partner? The good news is that you and your accountability partner don't need to write in the same genre (but of course, they can!). Instead, consider someone who is as serious and enthusiastic at writing a book this year as you are. Write your books together, and maybe even meet up for weekly writing sprints or consultations.
You'll want someone who will encourage you to take you initial book idea and turn it into a finished book. A writing friend who is serious about growing their own book-writing process!
Successful writers have accountability partners who they critique with throughout multiple drafts. Who is yours going to be?
3. Write a premise
Writing a premise is really the first thing you need to do before you write a book. In this step, you take a look at a batch of fresh ideas for a book, and then pick an initial idea that can withhold the length of a novel.
Taking this baby step is extremely important for writers who don't want to get lost in their plot while writing it. It also will be important later in the publishing process, especially for traditional publishing (since writers who query their agents should be able to pitch the big hooks for their book in one sentence).
To write your book premise, consider the following:
Who is your character? What is their goal? Who (or what!) is stopping them from accomplishing it, and what will happen when they reach it?
In just one sentence, describe these fundamental elements of your story.
If you're feeling stuck, turn to some of your favorite books. Try to do the same for these published stories, and then use them as a model for writing your own story idea.
4. Get feedback
Find three people you trust and share your premise with them. Do they want to hear the rest of the story? Or do they have suggestions for ways to make it even more exciting?
It’s scary to share your ideas and your writing with other people. But getting feedback now will help ensure that the story you spend months writing will be one people want to read, so don’t skip this step.
Ideally, you will pitch your book idea to future target readers. Regardless who you pitch to, seeing a real person's reaction to your idea may get your creative juices swirling, and give you extra motivation to put your pen to paper (or fingers on the keyboard).
5. Read your competition
Find three books similar to the one you’re writing and read them. They’ll keep you inspired as you write your book. Plus, understanding how comparable titles use story fundamentals, like the three-act structure or key moments and genre tropes, is crucial to writing a story that satisfies your primary audience.
While there are thousands of authors to pick from, reading your favorites will help you to also naturally establish your unique voice and style, inspired by their prose.
You should be the ideal reader for the books you write. Playing the role of an admiring reader of another author's work will get you into this mindset.
6. Create an outline
Take your book topic, and write down everything you know about what will happen in your book. Take time to think through your entire book from start to finish. And if you're struck, I recommend starting with the climactic moment and working your way backwards.
Once you have this scene done, you could take this a step further and use the six elements of plot to outline the big picture for your story idea—or even how the six elements work in each story's act.
Basic structure is they key to a focused plot.
A few weeks from now, when you’re in the ugly middle of the writing process, you’ll find it incredibly helpful to have these notes about the arc of your story.
7. Write your first chapter
This is it: start writing! Sit down at your desk or dedicated writing space, open your preferred book writing software, and write your first chapter.
For now, don't worry about the editing process. Just get words down.
Again, if you're stuck, turn to a bestselling author in your genre. Read a few first chapters from their books, and see if inspiration strikes. Don't plagiarize their work, but also don't be afraid to use some of their tricks to hook a reader—and use these ideas to write your first chapter for your own idea.
8. Build your author website
Sure, right now you’re focused on writing your book, not publishing it. But the best time to start building your platform and readership is right now, long before your book goes to print.
Take a deep breath. I know it's hard to imagine building your author platform while writing when you're already writing inside a busy schedule. The earlier you start building your platform, the more manageable it is.
To do this, set small goals and reasonable deadlines for you to complete certain parts of your website. Your site doesn't have to be perfect, but you do need one.
The first step to publishing your book to a crowd of raving fans is to build your author website. Here’s our complete guide to creating an amazing website.
9. Publish something small
Publishing, like writing, is a skill that you improve at as you practice it. Don’t wait to finish your book before you publish your writing for the first time.
Long before your book is ready, get started by publishing something small — a blog post, a short story, or even a deleted scene from your book.
Personally, I recommend writing a short story because this is also a great way to attract future readers to your writing. You can give it to them for free as a download!
Learning how to write a short story is also great practice for writing a book. You can learn more about writing short stories in this article.
10. Don’t quit
To publish a book in 2022, you’ll have to use all of 2022.
You can’t go work on something else. You can’t stop until your book is finished.
Commit right now to finishing your book.
Believe and bet on yourself!
Print the 10 Steps
Want to save these ten steps and print them out so you can refer to them throughout the month? I’ve created a printable guide to help you get started writing your book.
Is This the Year You Write Your Book?
Let’s face it: writing a book is hard. It’ll take time, effort, and determination.
But I believe you have what it takes. You’re up for the challenge.
Just imagine: a year from now, you could be holding your published book in your hands.
I can’t wait to celebrate it with you!
What’s your writing goal for 2022? Let us know in the comments below.
The first step to write your book is to create your intention. Take fifteen minutes to write your intention. Make sure to include the following elements:
- When will you write?
- Where will you write?
- How long or how much will you write?
Share your intention in the comments below so we can all support and encourage you. And be sure to cheer on your fellow writers, too!