10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book

Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.
–Mark Twain

The hard part of writing a book isn’t getting published. It’s the actual writing. In this article, I offer 10 steps for writing a book along with 10 bonus steps. Click here to download a free guide with all 20 steps.

How to Write a Book

As the bestselling author of five books, I can tell you without hesitation that the hardest part of a writer’s job is sitting down to do the work. Books don’t just write themselves, after all. You have to invest everything you are into creating an important piece of work.

For years, I dreamed of being a professional writer. I believed I had important things to say that the world needed to hear. But as I look back on what it really takes to become an author, I realize how different the process was from my expectations.

To begin with, you don’t just sit down to write a book. That’s not how writing works. You write a sentence, then a paragraph, then maybe if you’re lucky, an entire chapter. Writing happens in fits and starts, in bits and pieces. It’s a process.

The way you get the work done is not complicated. You take one step at a time, then another and another. As I look back on the books I’ve written, I can see how the way they were made was not as glamorous as I once thought.

How to really write a book

In this post, I’ll teach you the fundamental steps you need to write a book. I’ve worked hard to make this easy to digest and super practical, so you can start making progress.

And just a heads up: if you dream of authoring a bestselling book like I have and you’re looking for a structured plan to guide you through the writing process, I have a special opportunity for you at the end of this post where I break the process down.

But first, let’s look at the big picture. What does it take to write a book? It happens in three phases:

  • Beginning: You have to start writing. This sounds obvious, but it may be the most overlooked step in the process. You write a book by deciding first what you’re going to write and how you’re going to write it.
  • Staying motivated: Once you start writing, you will face self-doubt and overwhelm and a hundred other adversaries. Planning ahead for those obstacles ensures you won’t quit when they come.
  • Finishing: Nobody cares about the book that you almost wrote. We want to read the one you actually finished, which means no matter what, the thing that makes you a writer is your ability not to start a project, but to complete one.

Below are 10 ridiculously simple tips that fall under each of these three major phases plus an additional 10 bonus tips. I hope they help you tackle and finish the book you dream of writing.

BONUS: Click here to download all 20 steps in a complete guide for writing a book.

Phase 1: Getting started

We all have to start somewhere. With writing a book, the first phase is made up of four parts:

1. Decide what the book is about

Good writing is always about something. Write the argument of your book in a sentence, then stretch that out to a paragraph, and then to a one-page outline. After that, write a table of contents to help guide you as you write, then break each chapter into a few sections. Think of your book in terms of beginning, middle, and end. Anything more complicated will get you lost.

2. Set a daily word count goal

John Grisham began his writing career as a lawyer and new dad — in other words, he was really busy. Nonetheless, he got up an hour or two early every morning and wrote a page a day. After a couple of years, he had a novel. A page a day is only about 300 words. You don’t need to write a lot. You just need to write often. Setting a daily goal will give you something to aim for. Make it small and attainable so that you can hit your goal each day and start building momentum.

3. Set a time to work on your book every day

Consistency makes creativity easier. You need a daily deadline to do your work — that’s how you’ll finish writing a book. Feel free to take a day off, if you want, but schedule that ahead of time. Never let a deadline pass; don’t let yourself off the hook so easily. Setting a daily deadline and regular writing time will ensure that you don’t have to think about when you will write. When it’s time to write, it’s time to write.

4. Write in the same place every time

It doesn’t matter if it’s a desk or a restaurant or the kitchen table. It just needs to be different from where you do other activities. Make your writing location a special space, so that when you enter it, you’re ready to work. It should remind you of your commitment to finish this book. Again, the goal here is to not think and just start writing.

Phase 2: Doing the work

Now, it’s time to get down to business. Here, we are going to focus on the next three tips to help you get the book done:

5. Set a total word count

Begin with the end in mind. Once you’ve started writing, you need a total word count for your book. Think in terms of 10-thousand work increments and break each chapter into roughly equal lengths. Here are some general guiding principles:

  • 10,000 words = a pamphlet or business white paper. Read time = 30-60 minutes.
  • 20,000 words = short eBook or manifesto. The Communist Manifesto is an example of this, at about 18,000 words. Read time = 1-2 hours.
  • 40,000–60,000 words = standard nonfiction book / novella. The Great Gatsby is an example of this. Read time = three to four hours.
  • 60,000–80,000 words = long nonfiction book / standard-length novel. Most Malcolm Gladwell books fit in this range. Read time = four to six hours.
  • 80,000 words–100,000 words = very long nonfiction book / long novel. The Four-Hour Work Week falls in this range.
  • 100,000+ words = epic-length novel / academic book / biography. Read time = six to eight hours. The Steve Jobs biography would fit this category.

6. Give yourself weekly deadlines

You need a weekly goal. Make it a word count to keep things objective. Celebrate the progress you’ve made while still being honest about how much work is left to do. You need to have something to aim for and a way to measure yourself. This is the only way I ever get any work done: with a deadline.

7. Get early feedback

Nothing stings worse than writing a book and then having to rewrite it, because you didn’t let anyone look at it. Have a few trusted advisers to help you discern what’s worth writing. These can be friends, editors, family. Just try to find someone who will give you honest feedback early on to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

Phase 3: Finishing

How do you know when you’re done? Short answer: you don’t. Not really. So here’s what you do to end this book-writing process well:

8. Commit to shipping

No matter what, finish the book. Set a deadline or have one set for you. Then release it to the world. Send it to the publisher, release it on Amazon, do whatever you need to do to get it in front of people. Just don’t put it in your drawer. The worst thing would be for you to quit once this thing is written. That won’t make you do your best work and it won’t allow you to share your ideas with the world.

9. Embrace failure

As you approach the end of this project, know that this will be hard and you will most certainly mess up. Just be okay with failing, and give yourself grace. That’s what will sustain you — the determination to continue, not your elusive standards of perfection.

10. Write another book

Most authors are embarrassed by their first book. I certainly was. But without that first book, you will never learn the lessons you might otherwise miss out on. So, put your work out there, fail early, and try again. This is the only way you get better. You have to practice, which means you have to keep writing.

Every writer started somewhere, and most of them started by squeezing their writing into the cracks of their daily lives. That’s how I began, and it may be where you begin, as well. The ones who make it are the ones who show up day after day. You can do the same.

The reason most people never finish their books

Every year, millions of books go unfinished. Books that could have helped people, brought beauty or wisdom into the world. But they never came to be. And in one way or another, the reason is always the same: the author quit.

Maybe you’ve dealt with this. You started writing a book but never completed it. You got stuck and didn’t know how to finish. Or you completed your manuscript but didn’t know what to do after. Worse yet, you wrote a book, but nobody cared about it. Nobody bought or read it.

I’ve been there before.

In fact, the first couple books I wrote didn’t do that well at all — even with a traditional publisher. It took me years to learn this, but here’s what nobody ever told me:

Before you can launch a bestseller, first you have to write one.

Before you can launch a bestseller, you have to write a bestseller.

Jeff Goins

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What I mean by that is so many writers sit down to write their masterpiece, assuming that’s all there is to it. Just sit down and write. But as I’ve studied the world’s most gifted and successful authors, I’ve noticed this is not what the masters do. They are far more intentional than simply sitting and letting the words flow.

Every great writer needs a system they can trust. You and I are no different. But an author’s system for how they produce bestselling book after bestselling book is not always the easiest thing to access. So, as a matter of survival, I’ve had to figure it out for myself and create a clear book-writing framework that works. This is what I call the “Write a Bestseller Method” which helps me get a book written and ready to launch.

This is the part that I never learned in any English class. Producing work that sells is not just about writing what you think is good. It’s about finding an idea that will both excite you and excite an audience. It’s about being intentional and thinking through the whole process while having proper accountability to keep you going.

In other words, the writing process matters. It matters a lot. You have to not only finish your book but write one worthy of being sold. And if you want to maximize your chances of finishing your book, you need a proven plan.

Writing books has changed my life. It helped me clarify my thinking, find my calling as an author, and has provided endless opportunities to make an impact on the world and a living for my family.

If you’re serious about doing the same, click here to get my free guide on how to write a book.

Bonus: 10 more writing tips!

If you need some help staying motivated, here are another 10 tips to help you keep going in the process:

11. Only write one chapter at a time

Write and publish a novel, one chapter at a time, using Amazon Kindle Singles, Wattpad, or sharing with your email list subscribers.

12. Write a shorter book

The idea of writing a 500-page masterpiece can be paralyzing. Instead, write a short book of poems or stories. Long projects are daunting. Start small.

13. Start a blog to get feedback early

Getting feedback early and often helps break up the overwhelm. Start a website on WordPress or Tumblr and use it to write your book a chapter or scene at a time. Then eventually publish all the posts in a hardcopy book. This is a little different than tradition blogging, but the same concepts apply. We created a free tool to help you know when your blog posts are ready to publish. Check out Don’t Hit Publish.

14. Keep an inspiration list

You need it in order to keep fresh ideas flowing. Read constantly, and use a system to capture, organize and find the content you’ve curated. I use Evernote, but use a system that works for you.

15. Keep a journal

Then, rewrite the entries in a much more polished book format, but use some photocopies or scans of the journal pages as illustrations in the book. You could even sell “deluxe” editions that come with photocopied versions of the journal.

16. Deliver consistently

Some days, it’s easy to write. Some days, it’s incredibly hard. The truth is: inspiration is merely a byproduct of your hard work. You can’t wait for inspiration. The Muse is really an out-of-work bum who won’t move until you do. Show her who’s boss and that you mean business.

17. Take frequent breaks

Niel Fiore, the author of The Now Habit, says, “There is one main reason why we procrastinate: It rewards us with temporary relief from stress.” If you’re constantly stressed about your unfinished book, you’ll end up breaking your schedule. Instead, plan for breaks ahead of time so you stay fresh: minute breaks, hour breaks, or even multiple day breaks.

18. Remove distractions

Try tools like Bear or Scrivener to let you write in a totally distraction-free environment. That way, email, Facebook, and Twitter won’t interrupt your flow.

19. Write where others are writing (or working)

If you’re having trouble writing consistently by yourself, write where other people are also working. A coffee shop or library where people are actually working and not just socializing can help. If you’re in a place where other people are getting things done, then you’ll have no choice but to join them.

20. Don’t edit as you go

Instead, write without judgment first, then go back and edit later. You’ll keep a better flow and won’t be interrupted by constant criticism of your own work. And you’ll have a lot more writing to edit when it’s time to do so.

Click here to download a complete reference guide of all these writing tips.

What do you want to write a book about? What is your best writing advice? Share in the comments.

1,514 thoughts on “10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book

  1. Thanks. I already started writing my own book that will offer a guide to people who want to know how to Digitize and this article helped me a lot. I left a blank page after wring my Foreword that I will use for things like names of contributors and references, but what I need to know is the importance of writing a Preface and what precisely is a Preface?

  2. I write something too, on my mobile app in bed. its really going well chapter 4 but still the beginning of it (already know where + how it ends) , of course it needs some edit and stuff but I ll do it after it ends. I actually don’t want it turns into a book but into kinda a manga?

  3. This is an amazingly helpful resource, Thank you Jeff Goins! As I was reading through your amazing resource I realized that I came to similar conclusions while writing and publishing my first 120 page manifesto/book, Lustizmus as in “Lazyism” in Hungarian (which I sold 550 copies of so far making over 1500 USD on it ) and have written a few more that are awaiting editing. Great job, and for all of you looking to share your stories/manifestos/ideas/experiences BEST OF LUCK!! – And remember: it helps a great deal to write regularly as well as to start a book by coming up with titles for your chapters than in point format listing the main points you would like to make in them. It helps a great deal in getting things done and also helps setting you up for a good work flow. Do enjoy it! Thank you again, and again, and again.

  4. I want to write a book about the story of my life , and I believe it wil be a best seller,
    but I am a complete novice and just dont know how to plan it out
    I found the tips helpfull, I hope I can pit it into action . maybe I need a gost writer .

  5. I wrote children books and stort of uncle who passed but was know as a Miracle Man but i stuck as i dont know where to get published or how to go about it…One of my friends who had someone who was helping me passed due to cancer now i just have my stories wrote but that it all have done …

    1. Just look for a publisher and send them your work; if it’s worthy of publishing, they’ll come back with a contract. Simple. Just worry about quality 🙂

  6. Thanks for the tips; I’m starting a book right now. I’ve always wanted to be a author/writer! 🙂

        1. can’t you just say want to instead of wanna? I know Wanna is shorter, but grammatically, it makes NO SENSE at all.

          1. Scarlet, I could use some of your teachings, surely; what other skills has heaven awarded to you ??? You seem to be so brilliant ! No words

      1. Correction again…it’s “wannabes”. Sam’s original post was 100% understandable, but then you had to “correct” it with improper grammar, turning it into a possessive.

    1. Um. Excuse me, that was rude. Also, you used a singular term for “Wanna-Be” It should have been plural.

      Sincerely,
      An eleven year old Grammar teacher.

      1. Also, as an eleven year old, I have finished four books, and am planning to publish them.

        #lifegoals

          1. I’m sorry for what I said earlier, I didn’t mean it. I just got mad, and I did something rash.

            Sorry Sam.

            P.S. I wish you would stop. I’m not scared of you, but really, Stop posting to me and I’ll do the same for you.

            Deal?

    2. I, on the other hand, am of the belief that anyone can become a writer as long as they have the determination to actually do it. Bad grammar, poor writing- these are all things that can be fixed with time, and not things that make it impossible for you. The thing I love about writing is that it’s one of those art forms that you can excel in with hard-work. It only takes time.

  7. I want to write a book about my life . The newspaper in England has done 2 stories and so has a magazine. Then here in Florida the newspaper picked up the story. They were only given part of it. So now I feel the rest needs to be shared. I am not a writer by any means. Need a ghost writer. any suggestions?

  8. I Drove My Son to a Homeless Shelter
    That’s the title. It’s a book about honesty, recovery and hope.

  9. I want to write a book about my life. My story involves my x who is a physician that lived a double life as a drug trafficker, money launder and sex addict. Im overwhelmed and there are so many details. Do I need a ghost writer?

  10. This is very helpful. Never ever dreamt or thought of being a author but I recently started writing.

  11. I’m looking to write a book about my Grandfather who served in WW2. I’m going off actual facts and stories he tells me in a 25 page letter. He survived War and after being discharged, found peace with laughter and through God. When I got the letter I was a Military Wife and my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Its going to be a tribute to my Brave Grandfather who saw devastating acts of war on all fronts in Japan. He enlisted at Age 19 as an Army Egineer. After three months of graduating College he wanted to do his part and put his skills to work. It’s going to be very hard but I’m going to do it a little at a time, day by day. I feel it’s a story that should be told.

  12. I want to write a story of my great great grandfather and his two brothers who were sent to Australia as convicts from co clary in Ireland.as I have researched there lives its very inspirational of survival and perseverance
    .of highs and lows and how the most simply of things can bring immense joy.

  13. I’m an eleven year old, and I’m writing a book. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I have a dream of becoming a writer one day. I’ve got writer’s block, and I can’t seem to write chapters more than 5 pages. My mom’s currently working on a book of her own, and she said that for me to get new inspiration, I should introduce a new character. I did, and it’s turning out okay, but he isn’t someone who I can understand. How can I get to know my characters better?

    -Sadie

    1. Hey Sadie! I cannot answer your question since I came to this article to contemplate writing a book but I just wanted to say: If you are 11 and want to write a book that is amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s ridiculous- having a passion and goals is very important to being successful in life. At 11 years old all I could think about was video games and building tree forts… Don’t every stop doing what you love!

    2. I think it’s would be good if You let the character have the qualities of a person whom You know in real life like Your best friend or so. And Your 11 that’s incredible, You are the one to decide to be what You really wannabe, If You wannabe a writer so be it You’re a writer. Don’t give up. Give Your book all You got! I wish You nothing but the best.

    3. I wrote when I was eleven too. I tried to create these long master works, and I would suffer from writer’s block. Try writing short stories. When you’re young, your creativity is boundless. When you’re older, you can expand upon these little stories.

    4. Sadie, I used to write stories when I was your age too. I loved writing and always dreamed of becoming a writer one day. I had the same difficulty you’re describing. It was pretty annoying, but don’t worry. What I advise is that you write small jot notes on each chapter first. How you want the story to play out, how you want your readers to discover the juicy parts. Eventually you can add the extra bits and expand on what you started with. As you grow older, you’ll be inspired by your own life stories.

  14. I am appalled at some of the comments below…..why are people creating drama here? I thought this was an intellectual gathering of authors or soon to be authors! I think that the owner of this post should expel the drama queens! Like right now!

    1. Yeah, sorry. That would have been something that happened on account of a VERY bad day and the flu. I want to apologize for everything and anything I said.

      Promise you, miss Cahill, won’t ever happen again.

      Sincerely, Scarlet.

    1. Well, I’m an atheist but I can maybe help you.

      You should talk about your beliefs in comparison to other people’s. That might help you achieve a better base for your book. Also, I recommend (If this is the type of book you’re aiming to write) Interviewing people. One major hotspot for stuff like that is East Jesus, in Slab City. Never been, but they have a whole mountain dedicated to jesus.

      I wish you the best of luck!

    2. I would collect stories from people who have seen and experienced HIS miracles and write them down to tell everyone. Good luck.

  15. I want to write a book about my perspective of the world.
    Like how i think that humans live in a small zoo, and how our existence is a lie, that we are still asleep and all…
    so when i start writing i can barely write more than 20-40 pages….
    I want to write a book which can change people view as well, any tips how to express my thought in English…and how i can make my book interesting for readers…
    I am 14 and with school and exams, i usually write down my thoughts so how do i express it and start writing a book??

    -Thx for the help, and no negativity would be welcome 🙂

  16. Hlo sir..
    I want to write a book about the KIDS..future of india
    how could i start i do not know becoz i do not have any experience to write about it but i thought about then how to PROTECT them. HOW we help for those KIDS who are not able to study Due to money people regonized them… Please give me some insipiration…i have mere dedication about KIDS i love KIDS.. And i want to make a group which can be able to helped those KIDS who actually needs for study some help…

    1. I to will one day write a book about my life the UPS & downs ,good & bad,I feel like I’ve lived 3 lifetimes, and I said at the beginning I will one day write a book not because I want to its I’m that hardheaded if God gives me the time on this earth it will happen right now I’m thinking about who’s real name I will leave in my story some will have to be left out ,ex in-laws would surly sue or say it’s a lie so at this time I’m deciding real true story or a partial true story, but if will be done look for MY ROCKY ROAD. by M.R.Green aka Marcus welby

    2. I also want to write a book about my life! But I don’t know where to start; my life stories are all over the place haha

  17. im currently working on a book about shape-shifters. the book focuses mostly on those that change into wolves. Long ago, the leaders were chosen by, not only their background, but if they can change into a mythical bird as well. Ability passes down through the generations. So now, 2017, The Main characters Trinedy & Tyler face the hardships of Love, Hate, an endless war, and the fate of their land resting on their shoulders. After running from their separate homelands, Tyler from the electric sands of the Desert , Trinedy from the Shadows of the Forest, they meet up with their pals and plan to take down their clans’ worst enemy for years: Aedan, king of the sun. Aedan was the first to ever show the “bird gift” and has ruled over all the element kingdoms for thousands of years. Will they succseed?

  18. I spent the last 3 years of my life fighting against my former employer Wells Fargo. Clearly they are not a very well thought of company these days, but after the experience I’ve been through, which basically ruined my career, took all of my money and turned my life upside down. I went from being one of the Top 100 retirement advisors in the US to a guy who is working out of his basement. The story is a real David vs. Goliath story, except David loses this time. It has international travel, Corporate lies and coverups, big money and a pretty sad ending, though redemption or retribution are still possible. I need help writing this, it is timely, newsworthy and a story that puts a likeable character (me) up against a hated company in a sympathetic way. It has screenplay written all over it.

  19. Im writing a book about my strong-willed, single mother of four girls. Me being the youngest- A woman who had the perfect love story, only to be turned into an abusive marriage by letting alcohol corrupt the man of her dreams. After a terrible accident my mom is left with no choice but to leave Mexico and start over in a new country, what people refer to as “The American Dream”. Struggles from left to right make it almost impossible to find a the tiniest of breaks and happiness. But with hard work, determination, and motivation, she accomplishes not only success, but a bright future for all her four daughters.
    – thats what my book is about 🙂

    my question is: Should I go back to school to learn more vocabulary? or should I make it a goal to read one new book a week? Which of the two options do you think will get me closer to my goal?

    1. Great idea. Your book will certainly be very interesting. More now than ever… Your insight into the Mexican immigrant population and and second generation Mexican Americans will educate a lot of white Americans. I don’t think you ought to go back to school to increase your vocabulary though, you just need a thesaurus and a well constructed plot. The tricky thing when writing a book is to find the right words and put them in the right order ! Trickier than you might think. You can also have someone proofread, edit and discuss your production with you. If you think can share your work before completion. Good luck!!

  20. spent the last 3 years of my life fighting against my former employer Wells Fargo. Clearly they are not a very well thought of company these days, but after the experience I’ve been through, which basically ruined my career, took all of my money and turned my life upside down. I went from being one of the Top 100 retirement advisors in the US to a guy who is working out of his basement. The story is a real David vs. Goliath story, except David loses this time. It has international travel, Corporate lies and coverups, big money and a pretty sad ending, though redemption or retribution are still possible. I need help writing this, it is timely, newsworthy and a story that puts a likeable character (me) up against a hated company in a sympathetic way. It has screenplay written all over i

    1. Can’t anybody appreciate the real life drama here. These scumbags ruined my life? Why? Because it was easier than them tellling the truth.

  21. I want to write a book about an elf… whose life becomes upside down and gets lost in the unknown world without any of his kin alive to guide him. Still young and naive despite his looks, he gets into trouble…

  22. I’d love to write a book about Jamaica. More specifically about my journey into a totally different culture. All the highs and lows I have experienced and still am going through in the process of integration while maintaining my individuality.
    Maybe starting to write a blog is the way to go. How do I get readers for my blog so I can get constructive feedback in order to see if my thoughts and writing are of iintetest to others?

  23. I am currently working on my second book. My first one for this series “Death’s Application”, was an amazing adventure. But I’m kind of stuck on the second one. There is so much detail in the second book and it looks like it will be twice or three times as long as the first one. I find myself getting a little overwhelmed, even when I try to take things one step at a time… even baby steps.. any advice? I have deadlines, word count goals.. I have my little spot for writing… but when I sit down.. I’m just… blank minded. I have a well detailed and thought out timeline that I use….

    I’m not sure what’s going on. I had so much fun writing the first book and now know what to expect, but I’ve never had this kind of writers block. *sighs*

    I’ve even taken breaks… and done something else completely from the book…

    Any advise will go a long way.

    1. Try writing in a new spot because maybe you have just gotten so used to writing there that it’s hard to focus now. For me personally I would just stop worrying about short term deadlines or any deadlines and just write whenever something comes to you. Write it in a notebook or on a black word document. Eventually you should start to get back into a writing groove and it’ll just flow out.

    2. ‘Fun’ is the keyword here. You used to have fun writing, has it now become a chore you need 100 different tips and strategies to deal with?

    3. Any chance you could “section” off the second book? I think the blocks are as a result of the over whelming magnitude of this work, so perhaps a Part One and Part Two? Then create an omnigram to collect your thoughts and keep them all in one place for the next part. Perhaps with the awesome success of the first book, you just bit off more than you can chew for this one? I hope this helps or gives you other ideas and solutions. Best of luck.

  24. I would like to write a book about my life as an addict and a program I was in. Do I use real names or change them?

    1. Change them for legal purposes. Unless you want them at your door asking for royalties if the book goes anywhere… change them.

    2. Don’t be ashamed of your recovery.
      It’s your story, tell it how you wish.
      If you are referring to the identities of others – than yes, you need to change their names unless you have their consent.
      Remember the Serenity Prayer…

  25. i am really willing to write a book about someone present situation, but i have English language problem, so i would love to wait for it untill my English gets better.

  26. Hi there,
    I am a mother of 5 daughters and would like to write a book about raising 5 girls close in age while having one of our girls battle mental health issues from an early age. My book would speak about navigating the waters of mental health care and how the entire family is impacted. I wonder if I would need to hire a writer in order to be taken seriously and have it potentially published?

  27. Hey,
    I’m 15 years old (from Austria) and I have this dream about writing and publishing a book…
    I already started and I know what it will be about. But for some reason my inspiration is going away every time I sit down in order to write. Has anyone an idea what to do?
    I love writing, but I think it is because I dont think anyone will read a book of a 15-year-old Girl.
    Furthermore when I write, I see the scenes clearly in my head, every character has it’s face and voice. I am afraid that my words sometimes dont say what I mean, or, even worse, they dont make any sense because I write too much/less about specific scenes…
    (I’m sorry if that sounds strange, I’m from Austria and not sure how to say in englisch..)
    I am thankful for every answer

    1. You obviously have the skills in either language, but need to understand creativity seems to come easier to young people who can ignore the inner self doubt and focus on their quest. Look at the world of music and acting, the audience prefers young fresh faces and new ideas. You should read the Lorry Raja a story written by an impoverished young girl from India who wanted to tell her families daily struggle. Good fortune to you!.

    2. hey nita i am shri from india ,i wana tell u something that u just go with ur writing dont thik about others mind .for me i definalty readyour book ..but u shoud keep wriying…..

    3. You are so much wonderful, you are full of passion and able to see the
      possible out of impossible situation. That is also better if you use a
      mentor, who can help you in reviewing and appreciating your efforts. Do
      not focus on the external explanations, the original script is inside of
      you and everyone is looking the brand idea coming from you. Keep
      writing

  28. Amazing post!
    I’d love to write a book full of flash fiction stories, but I’m not sure about it, I think I’m scared nobody would like it, and even though that’s no way to think, I can’t help it. Any advice?

  29. hey i am vedant a 12 year old boy i have a stared writting a book on a dragon recetntly and gonna have 8 books seris in it how much time should i take

  30. and also i can not spend money on books
    as my parents do not allow so how can i publish my books without use of money

  31. I am interested in writing a book about caregiving for elders. I have worked in the field for 32 yrs and want to both educate and inspire newcomers in the field by making them aware of the realities of this work and offer practical information to guide them along.. and also help out folks searching for a care provider for their loved ones.
    I also would like to share my many heartfelt stories and lessons learned, and at the same time attempt to shed a light on about the plight of elders in our country these days and the struggles they face daily, to hopefully bring more awareness and empathy towards them. I am appalled at some of the things I see but I am also amazed by the incredible people I have encountered along the way.
    So…I am confused, do I make it a guide manual to teach/train or make it a series of my many stories to enlighten folks about the beauties of the aged…or both?
    I am new at this so not sure which direction would be best. And is this a good topic of interest to write about? Any advise would be appreciated and welcome. TY

    1. Hi Anna, I would love to read your stories about the beauties of the aged, also their personal reflexions on what they learnt from their life situations. As for the manual, maybe a series of “how to survive and thrive…nursing home, grandchildren,departing spouse, retirement village, whatever. Maybe Try to present it in a funny way and funny illustrations to grab the attention and to enlighten people on the topics. Good luck.

  32. Great text, thank you so uch for that! I really struggle with the empty-page-syndrome as well as with productivity, I guess it’s the fear of failure that’s blocking me. Your article was quite comforting and made me start anew. Unless I give up again, one never knows. Thanks anyways!

  33. Hi there im hoping people can help me with a structure im putting in place to write a book

    My structure is to make 100 different subjects that all align to writing a book where the person only has to write 100 – 500 words about the subject so far I made it to 22 subjects

    here is where I am so far

    1)Who are they

    2)How did they get there

    3)Where are they going

    4)Who are they meeting

    5)What do the things they are meeting do

    6)How long will it take for them to get there

    7)How long will.it take for the things they are meeting to get done what they have to do

    8)How old are they

    9) what brought them.there

    10) who were their ancestors

    11) why did their ancestors leave them

    12) how do they dress

    13) how do they dress different than their ancestors

    14) what are their customs

    15) how are their customs different than the people they mer

    16) what technology do they have

    17) how ia their technology different than the people’s they met

    18)what animals do they have

    19) how are they different than the ones the other group has

    20)what diseases did they bring

    21)what other colonies do they represent

    22) how are they different than the peoples they met

    The point is so people fill in each part and then paste each section together and they have a book.,
    Hopefully someone can help me make the next 78 settings to test this theory
    this would make writing a book a lot easier than having to guess how to place each scene
    if anyones interested in testing this
    write me a nottryingenough@gmail.com

    1. Hi James, i like the idea; but one thing that is clear from your subject headings, is that you already have a book, or plot in mind. What is your idea?

      1. Hi Nadine it’s identical to (fill in the blank space)

        When Charlie ______ to school

        He met up with Janine who owned a _______ and Charlie wanted to know what its name was.

        Very similar to that instead it looks like this

        Every book follows a pattern but no one has defined what that pattern is.

        Here is an example
        takes 100 sections that have a meaning and an purpose at the end

        Here is an example:

        Each example needs between 100-500 words for each setting to be a book

        1)Who are they

        2)How did they get there

        3)Where are they going

        4)Who are they meeting

        5)What do the things they are meeting do

        6)How long will it take for them to get there

        7)How long will.it take for the things they are meeting to get done what they have to do

        8)How old are they

        9) what brought them.there

        10) who were their ancestors

        11) why did their ancestors leave them

        12) how do they dress

        13) how do they dress different than their ancestors

        14) what are their customs

        15) how are their customs different than the people they mer

        16) what technology do they have

        17) how ia their technology different than the people’s they met

        18)what animals do they have

        19) how are they different than the ones the other group has

        20)what diseases did they bring

        21)what other colonies do they represent

        22) how are they different than the peoples they met

        As you can see I only made it to 22,

        it needs another 78 sections for it to be long enough to be a book

        The point is when 100 to 500 words are added to each setting that the person can just paste each section together and have a book.

        What would be interesting about this writing structure too would be if the person could write at any section from the end to the beginning or anywhere and still make a sensible book at the end

        This is one example. There is different structure to each book.

        Im hoping someone will take the time with me to test different captions to write a book as mentioned.

        I’m hoping you or anyone can help me.enter the next 78 scenarios and try to write a book this way

        I am certain that it works it just needs to right 100 scene’s

        I hope you will help with this

  34. Jeff, I am getting on to 60 in the spring. My life has been what they call interesting but not in the kind sense. Be careful what you wish for right?

    I have no living relatives, and all my friends are gone to to look for their own midlife crises. Those still alive.

    So, at the end of my life in isolation I want to say what I lived and what I remember, what used to be called a memoir, but of course people only read memoirs of the rich and the dead.

    I have this computer, but it does not have Word on it and I will be goddamned if I ever give Microsoft another dime. Do you (or your readers) know of an online place to write? A place I can go every day to add to what I can recall?

    By the way, I have memories going back to 8 or 9 months old, people say that is not possible. But there it is.

    Any advice is welcomed.

    1. Hi herkie, check out Google Docs – it’s a free to use online copy of Microsoft’s Office suite that might suit your needs

    2. There’s stuff like Open Office which is like Word but free but if you really want to write you can just use the Notepad application on your pc, is not as pretty I agree but as an author you’re interested on your ideas, not on how pretty the text will look.
      I suggest getting your writing done on any medium possible and then looking for some fancy thing to make it look pretty.

    3. I think there are more of us who remember 8 or 9 month old memories than you might think. And what does it matter what “they” say about it.

  35. I have always wanted to become a writer ever since I was a little girl. My concerns are that grammar isn’t my forte. I don’t have a clue where commas or periods go or where one sentence begins and where it should end. Any suggestions? Also how do readers actually feel about non-fiction books?

    1. Then you’re not a writer. Writers have a passion for words and grammar. A real writer knows to use all this intuitively. A real writer with major handicaps such as you described would know to study and learn, instead of asking silly questions in a blog. You have a fatal flaw insofar as becoming a writer if you can’t craft sentences. What did they teach you in school?? Ever considered backing or knitting?

      1. Ever considered not being rude when it comes to people’s dreams? Don’t put others down because you want too (:

      2. There are people who like to write and there are those who love words and grammar, the first are called “authors” and the latter “editors,” the author can’t do what the editor does and vice versa.

        1. Most writers I know love to write, and they also love words and grammar. Words and grammar are to a writer what notes and scales are to a musician.

          Not knowing them doesn’t mean Donna can’t be a writer. She absolutely can. It’s a craft that can be learned. But knowing grammar and loving words doesn’t mean a person is an editor and not a writer.

      3. I think a fatal flaw for a writer is not being able to think outside of the box!

        A “real writer” is naturally creative and is able to tell a story that interests people. I don’t think that type of creativity is bound by punctuation.

      4. You know, for a beginner this is not the way u should Kindle her.. One thing u have to keep in your mind..an author is the one who definitely supports another one

    2. Your grammar isn’t the obstacle, it’s your fear. Write your story, have someone else fix it. Keep working toward your dream and if it’s really something you want to do, tell yourself you will find a way! Your post just now is 80 times more grammatically correct than what I read on social media, so you are more ahead than you realize!

    3. Yeah, that grammar stuff is tough. There are a lot of rules and many don’t make sense. In college, my first essay came back covered in red. Someone helped me, and eventually that essay was published in the local newspaper. Amazon has some good, fun, grammar books. There are grammar blogs and podcasts. If you can tell a good story or explain things to people, grammar shouldn’t stop you from writing a book. (BTW, I think all of Jeff Goins’ best sellers are non-fiction.

        1. Thanks. It’s good to know you venture into the comment section. I don’t usually make comments but someone made a truly trollish reply to Donna Jordan’s request for help. On a different subject, have you written about revising fiction or can you recommend someone else’s book?

  36. I love to write. I’m 15 and I have had an amazing idea for a book. At least in my opinion it’s amazing. Thank you for the tips. I feel like I’m ready to start my book. 🙂

  37. Well this is the year I will be writing my second book. My first book crashed and burned and that is ok. I am 54, in a menial job and so I thought I would use this opportunity in 2018 to focus on writing which is my number one passion. I am steering clear of memoirs and I am reflecting on the other writer below who wants to write a memoir. Don’t do it for your first book. I am focusing on sci-fi conspiracy fiction with a possible factual twist, I will leave that up to the reader. My daughter is an excellent editor and knows the ins and outs of writing. She will be doing my editing to begin with. I have had so much encouragement from friends and family. You are never too young or old so it’s time to pull my finger out. So I will set my time each day and hopefully churn out between 500 to 1000 words. Of course this will be edited to around 300, most likely. I have a lot of research, mind maps, and a story board to do but I am a write now and see where it takes me. It will be plot driven which is risky but the base of my story calls for that. Best of luck to everyone here. Thanks Jeff for your insight.

  38. I can’t write without editing. I simply cannot write garbage and proceed. Worst advice ever! It has to be good, but I’m lucky that it comes out good from the get-go, needing minimal revising. SInce I get writer’s block often, I go back and edit in more details, perfecting the previous chapters. So as I have a novel in progress, the writings from months ago are all flowing smoothly, helped by the blocks. Then I get unblocked, I write well, then I polish it in. I simply cannot understand the mentality of writing crap and proceeding ahead. I could not do it. It’s like trying to lose weight by eating cheetohs’ and snickers bars and telling yourself you’ll hit the gym later. No, I don’t start with junk material and I practice daily maintenance so the work is not tedious at the end. To each their own.

      1. I lost 65lbs eating cheetoh’s and snicker bars, and Mr. Good Bar and PayDay and Doritos’s! As a writer the one thing I learned is that we are ALL different. The first lesson my mentor taught me was to “get the story out”! A book is never done the first time, second time, and some cases many times, until the rough draft has been perfected. Stopping to edit pages as you go, may lead to continuous adding and editing. Every writer, writes by his or her formula. So we have to respect EVERYONE’S formula. Take what you can use and leave the rest. But to judge isn’t being considerate or helpful. And you are right…To each their own.

  39. I have started earlier writing a book, having been visited your sites I got a lot of idea to write. thanks a lot….

    1. Hi Raj, i assume English is not your first language? Best advise i may offer, if i may, is write in your first language. Best of luck!

  40. You’ve accidentally written a typo in your article about writing. “. . . ten ridiculously tips. . . “ I assume was supposed to read, simply, ridiculous.

  41. I’m 13 and i’m writing a book with a few friends. This is SUPER helpful. Thanks for the great advice!

  42. I’m looking to write a book about being a 40 something, white, South African. Being born 20 years before apartheid was abolished and the 20 plus years of a new democratic country, basically a reply to Trevor Noah’s “Born A Crime”. Would this be something of interest to readers?

  43. Thank you Jeff. I just wanted to say that subscribing to your mailing list was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve been toiling away on the beginning of a fantasy saga spanning 40,000+ years and six planned books (along with a myriad of custom maps, magic systems, mathematics and homegrown theologies), but still barely meandering through the first tale, for nearly six years now. I’ve had to commandeer help from a trusted friend and collaborator (due to the sheer size and scope of my universe’s lore, mythology, and history), but it’s your words and encouragement–while admittedly being a mostly thankless endeavor–that have kept me writing and inspired. Thank you, for the words of encouragement that pepper my inbox on a daily.

  44. Great tips! My favorites are numbers 10 and 17. Taking frequent breaks is useful for many reasons. And writing another book might be one of the best tips any writer can give to another. You improve your writing by writing. Thanks Jeff! With more writing (and tips like yours) I hope to improve my own books and blog at buckelsbooks.com

  45. Nowadays people search for different ways to earn money. One of them can be WRITING! I wouldn’t recommend you this site if it did not help my a lot, and gave me opportunity to set up side income. I guarantee you that you will be able to earn a lot of money if you follow this one simple click and find out what it is about —->https://tinyurl.com/y8es9yzp

  46. This should help my procrastinating. I first envisioned my book about 8 years ago. I wrote the first page back then then stopped. I started again because I am taking some time off from my professional career. My book is going to be about Spiritual Environmentalism and how we humans have messed up the earth because we are messed up inside and what we can do about it. What do people think of this idea? I want it to be what people would be interested in, not just myself.

    1. You sound a lot like me and what I have had going on lately. I’ve had a story I’ve written small little idea notes about for years but never really got into writing the actual full on story. It’s been incredibly discouraging because I am writing alone and can’t even find people to help me by reading what I have and giving feedback on whether it is even going to be interesting to others an;d therefore worth writing it out. I want to write it and get it done for myself, but it’s discouraging if no one else seems interested, ya know?

      I don’t know much about the subject you are mentioning here, but just that little bit you did say does sound like a very interesting concept. I’ve always found psychology interesting although I’ve never studied it, so this concept of yours sounds like something that would incite quite a bit of deeper thought and self reflection. I’m sure there’s got to be many others who would also find it interesting as well.

  47. Im 14 years old and i am writing a book in about a month i’ve made around 8 pages now. or soon 3 chapters. They are supposed to be short… It’s an idea of a teenager who lives away from his parents, he lives on an island with his foster parents. When he is on school he sees news about killer birds crowding into flocks which attack people and tear them apart. This terrifies him and his friends.
    Long story short: Animals will get infected including livestock, thus the livestock kills most farmers creating hunger and death in the worlds countries. And when the disease is right next door to the country to main character lives in it creates humans into killers. Him and most of his friends are immune. The goal for the main character is to find his parents which he does by phone untill it dies from battery life and traveling to his grandparents hut which he and his friends pull off in the end. That is the main idea. I thought 150 A4 pages would be enough for this as it would be the equivelent of 300 A5 pages what do you think?

    1. The main character and his friends need to get off this island but the bridge has been blocked by the infected humans. So they need to get off somehow.

      1. Hi Joachim,

        If you anticipate happy ending to the story, then they probably need to get out of the island.
        Since main character and his friends are immune, they could just walk through, I guess… unless infected people has become something like zombies which seek to kill anything living…

        I believe that 150 pages will do just fine, intensity of the story depends on how well reader can feel for the characters.
        I.e. describing what impact it has had to main character when he has ended up living apart from his parents.
        Maybe impact to his live has been positive instead of negative, perhaps parents were abusive and main character was taken away from them, but he is still missing them, willing to give them another chance, hence willing to seek after them.
        Perhaps parents were infected as well and main character learned this before getting to them, but had to deal with sorrow of loosing them forever. Perhaps grandparents are his only hope for survival in increasingly hostile world filled with infected murderous people.
        Perhaps in one sunny morning after reaching safety of grandparents home, grandma suddenly starts feeling unwell and when she turns from stove to serve the breakfast her eyes have turned monstrous red, like it is with all other infected people, and hey, where is grandpa…?

        When reader can relate hurts and hopes of the character they suddenly start to matter and story gets interesting.
        My 2 cents on this is that 150 pages forces you to concentrate on matters which matter and helps to keep pace on.

        Kudos to you for taking on a writing project early on in your life!

  48. Thank you for the tips. I’m currently working on a book and the problem i’m facing is i have the idea of the book in my head from the first chapter to last, i know exactly what i want to write and the message i’m trying to send but i keep having trouble with the tenses and english is my second language so if you read the 20 pages i’ve written you will find all kinds of tenses there and that tends to confuse the readers and i just want the main character of the book which is a woman to tell and express how she feels at moment and sometimes tell a story about her past life, i don’t know if you get what i’m trying to say here but if you do can you please give me a tip on how to solve this problem, i showed it to a friend she saw the problem and her response discouraged me to continue working on the book, she said it’s stupid ):

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