How to Write a Book: 12 Foundational Steps

So you want to write a book? Here are 12 good foundational steps that you can follow.
1) Establish your writing space. Decide what you need: solitude? Make sure you find a place where you can have privacy and silence. Set up your equipment and space so you can easily write.
2) Assemble your writing tools. Make a list of all the things you’re going to need: EX: paper clips or a stapler. Have those within arm’s length so you don’t get distracted by having to look for things if you need them.
3) Break the project into as many small pieces as you can. Realize it’s a 4 to 500 page manuscript in the end but that’s made up of sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. Do one step at a time.
4) Settle on your big idea or storyline.
5) Construct your outline to have some sort of idea where you are going. Outlining ideas are covered in another post for you. Give yourself some direction of where you’re going. Your outline serves you not the other way around. If you find yourself drifting from it, change the outline, don’t change the book.
6) Set a firm writing schedule that includes a definite finish time. The way you do that is figure out roughly how many pages you are going to write for your book, (300, 400, 500,etc) and divide that into the number of days you are giving yourself to write. This may change once you get started and realize how many or how few pages you can write per day. Schedule yourself for the number of pages you can comfortably write. Be determined so you will stay on schedule. It can be adjusted as needed. Only about 1 in 100 writers literally meet their deadlines. If you just meet your finish goal, you set yourself apart from ninety nine out of a hundred writers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re going find the time to write because without a dedicated time schedule you will be distracted by a concert, a ballgame, a favorite TV show or other events in your life.
7) Draw from your own experience and research the details you are using in your content. If you can pull off a compelling first line, it will set the tone for your entire book. Every decision you make in your manuscript should go through the filter of your reader first, not you first, not editor first, not agent first, not reviewer first, or not critic first. Reader first.
8) Fill your story with conflict and tension when it is appropriate for your story line. Readers crave tension and yes this applies to fiction and nonfiction as well. What will keep people turning the pages.
9) Turn off your internal editor while you’re writing your first draft. Most writers I know are perfectionist s and have that inner critic sitting on our shoulder telling us what’s wrong with every word we write. That inner critic is just you or me and that critic needs to be told to shut up now. Always save your editing until the next day at least and the longer you can wait between when you write it and when you edit it the better for the end manuscript.
10) The marathon is in the middle. If there’s any place you want to quit it’s going to be during the middle of your book. We have great ideas to start and we can’t wait to get to that big finish but now we’ve got all those pages in the middle to fill. Keep yourself encouraged as you go through this section.
11) Write a resounding ending. To make sure your ending doesn’t fizzle, you give it the time it deserves. Do whatever it takes to make it work. Try several endings to see what will fit the best with the whole story.
12) Polish your manuscript to the point where you’re happy with every word. If you are going to a publisher they can tell within a few minutes whether your manuscript is going to be worth reading or rejecting.