Skills Needed to Write a Book

There’s only really one wrong way to write a book and that it to simply not write!

antique-typewriter-keysWhat you need to write a book:

  • Commitment: decide to set time aside for writing. For me, that is each morning. I find I am most creative when I have just had breakfast and coffee. I can easily get caught up in my imagination in the evening, but this tends to wake me up making sleep virtually impossible.
  • Time: Set a time limit for your writing sessions. I write for at least two hours and continue until my ideas reach some sort of conclusion, whether that is the end of a chapter, section or story, or a resolution of some kind. But if you have a really tight schedule, just fit in what you can…any writing is better than none, especially if it is regular writing.
  • Discipline: make sure you write every day to develop a writing habit. The more you do this, the easier it will become. If you find yourself with no ideas whatsoever, chose a writing activity or prompt to get you started. Ideally your writing is focused on whatever book, story, poem or project you are currently working on, but if you need to digress in order to keep writing and generate other ideas, that’s ok too – whatever you need to do to write regularly is fine.
  • Ideas: in order to write a story or book, you need ideas. When I started writing my book, I had vague ideas. I wrote these out, I experimented with them, I pondered them, I dreamt about them, I explored their possibilities in order to find my storyline. I wrote episodically for some time before settling on a solid plot. If you are stuck for ideas, writing prompts and activities can help generate new thought. See below for a selection of writing activities.
  • Deadline: set a timeframe for the completion of your first draft. There is nothing quite so motivating as a deadline. This gives you something concrete to work towards and helps you breakdown your writing in achievable smaller steps (like a word count each day in order to achieve your desired total word count in the time you have allowed).
  • Write quickly: when you sit to write each day, do just that – WRITE. Don’t re-read as you go, don’t edit the work, don’t continually go over and over your writing. You will get nowhere fast if you do this. Time for editing comes when you have written the whole thing and your first draft is complete.


I’ve heard it said that everyone has a book in them. I think perhaps this is true, though not everyone has the writing skill or time resources they need to write their book. Writing and time are both key components.


If you don’t have the skill, time or inclination to write a book yourself, your ideas need not remain buried in your own brain, there are options. Why not look for a ghostwriter? If you have an idea but need an expert to work the ideas into a book, why not seek out a partner to collaborate on a project?


The point is, if the dream is big enough, there are always ways to make it happen!


Writing activities:


Photo credit: Antique Typewriter Keys

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