If you are on this web page because you have a dream of becoming an author, this is for you. You want to write a book and you desire to learn how to write a book. Your desires, dreams and aspirations are noble because becoming an author can give you a platform to affect hundreds of thousands of people positively. And that can transform your life forever.
Many who nurture the dream of writing many books and becoming bestselling authors soon give up their dreams because they erroneously think that writing books is an uphill task. Many become overwhelmed by the mere thought of the scope of the book-writing task. They have a difficult time piecing together things like what to write about, where to begin the writing, how to navigate each stage of writing and even how to overcome the new author’s fears and procrastination.
In this article, you will learn how to write that your dream book more quickly and easily than you ever thought possible. So join me as we go through the steps.
A. Planning and Preparations
Whatever the form, good writing requires careful planning and preparations. What this means in practice is that you have to make a plan of how to fulfill your goal. In other words, there should be a method of going about the business of writing that you have set out for. Do not rush headlong into the task. It would do you a great deal of good if you would patiently observe a few preliminaries.
1. An Atmosphere of Silence
In order to plan very well, you must choose a very quiet place for yourself. When you have chosen a quiet place, the next thing to do is to find a suitable time that you are essentially free from distractions of your electronic gadgets (phones, TV, MP3 and Mp4 players, games), friends and visitors. The quiet time is a privilege time, a very fruitful time when you are alone with yourself, keeping company with the noble thoughts and adventures of your mind.
2. Thinking of the Readership
As you plan to write, you think of your audience and the message you want to pass across to them. This involves analyzing their
- age (whether they are children, adolescents, or the aged);
- occupation (are they farmers, manufacturers, petty traders, business men, students, or working class?);
- level of education (are they high school, college or university students?);
- socio-cultural beliefs and special needs.
If you do not know the above facts, you will not be able to effectively reach your readers.
Thinking of readership also involves giving a careful thought to all that you intend to say to your audience. You must have a definite and clear-cut message for your readers. You must be definite about what you want them to learn, change or remember.
3. Selecting a Title
When you have assured yourself of the message you want to pass across to your audience, you should then choose a befitting title for your book. The title is the overall lesson of the book in a condensed form. It is the theme or central idea that runs across the entire book. The key significance of a carefully-selected title is that it enables you to map out the aim and scope of your writing.
In so doing, you will be able to determine which ideas are relevant and which are irrelevant. The title you choose for your book gives you the point of view which would serve as a kind of pivot on which your arguments, illustrations and examples revolve. So you need to ensure that your title is well-framed.
4. Searching for Facts
As a potential author, you must come to terms with the fact that the writing business is not primarily about the money. You are primarily writing to bring about change in a section of the society. This change is only possible if you are able to change the mindset and belief system of your target audience. So, you have to write in such a persuasive and convincing manner that your readers would accept your point of view after reading your book. When they accept your points of view and translate them into actions, your desired change happens.
This warrants changing their own opinions; because they have to drop their own views which contradict yours before they can accept your own. That’s the reason you must endeavor to back up your claims with relevant facts and figures. As they say in philosophy, “What is asserted freely is denied freely.” The noble desire to educate your audience should compel you to search thoroughly for supporting facts.
5. Note Taking
It is very advisable to take notes as you engage in your search for facts. Note-taking helps you to retain the knowledge, information and ideas you get as you study. With our feeble memories, we do not often retain many of the significant things we have learnt.
Note-taking is a very good habit and one of the big secrets of all prolific writers. Try to develop the habit of having a notepad handy and taking notes of perceived important ideas and information that come to you from different sources. If you do, you will always be ready for writing because you will always have materials to lay hands on whenever you need them.
Note-taking does not stop with jotting down facts from external sources alone. It includes jotting down beautiful ideas that come to your mind in your sober moments. Ideas of things to write about can come to you while you are eating, bathing, lying down to rest or even in the toilet. These ideas are your creative impulses and if you don’t keep track of them, you will lose them.
B. Building up the Body
This is the second stage. When you have accumulated a large chunk of information and knowledge, you will face a new task i.e. building up the body of the book. How do you start knitting your ideas and information together?
Certainly, before you begin your writing, you will be a little uneasy. Even experienced writers feel the same way before they begin their writings. This initial uneasiness is not bad. Rather, it may serve as a good tonic for a successful writing.
1. Need for an Outline
The first thing to do before building the body of a book is to develop an outline. The outline is the sketch with which you arrange the relevant ideas you are to use in a logical sequence. The importance of making and using outlines as an author cannot be overemphasized. Outlines help you to maintain a logical and coherent flow of ideas and avoid irrelevant or extraneous information.
2. How to Say it
Many people have ideas and much knowledge in certain areas and they believe they need to put their knowledge and ideas on paper for others to benefit. But it is one thing to know what to write and yet another thing to know how to write it the way it ought to be written. This is where the daunting challenge of writing lies.
3. Choosing the Style
By style I mean the writer’s peculiar way of using language. It is the author’s peculiar way of putting his thoughts on paper. As an author, you have to consider the appropriate style to use in your book in order to get the best result. Wide reading plays a good role in the development of a good style. Through extensive reading, you get to learn what works and what doesn’t. In other words, with the critical capacity developed from extensive reading, you will be able to determine the style that best serves your purpose.
4. Deciding the Methodology
Building up the body of your book also involves deciding the method of presenting your ideas. Here, you have consider which of the literary modes that will give your desired results. As we know, there are three main literary modes: the prose, the poetry and the drama. Making a choice among them will depend on a number of factors such as the
- writer’s talents and aptitudes
- sensibilities of the readers
- level of education of the readers.
5. Good Choice of Words
To become a proficient writer, you must show mastery in your choice of words. You must know how to choose and use the right words at the right time; as well as know how to group them so that they can best convey the very ideas you have in mind. In other words, you must know what combinations you will make out of words to ensure effectiveness on the readers. Unless this is done, you will find at last that what you have written does not say what you intended to say, and you will leave himself open to misunderstanding and ridicule.
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