The Necessary Habit You Need Before You Can Write a Book

Every day, someone emails me asking a question about getting published. I try my best to point them in the right direction, but often the advice I give isn’t what they want to hear.

Writing Habit
Photo Credit: Sarahnaut via Compfight cc

When I was starting out as a writer, this was the last thing I wanted to hear. But it was exactly what I needed. Maybe you do, too.

If you want the world to read your words, you have to do something before you ever dream of getting published. You may have guessed it by now. It’s the very thing we writers struggle with the most: You have to write every day.

You can’t write a book if you aren’t writing. Getting a publisher or cracking the code on self publishing to Amazon isn’t going to change anything if you aren’t already doing the work.

These big breaks won’t make your writing life easier. They’ll make it harder. Getting a publisher, getting a book out there, getting your work noticed — these things create anxiety, not confidence. They put pressure on you, and if you aren’t in the creative habit already, you’re doomed.

So what does this look like? I think forming the creative habit requires three things. As I’ve written before, you need a space, a time, and a goal. But to really succeed, you need three other ingredients, as well:

  1. A reason. Don’t just write as an exercise in vanity. Write with intent, as my friend Marion says. Create something you plan to publish, something that must be said.
  2. A plan. If you don’t block out time to write, it’ll never get done. But you also need a plan for what you’re going to write — an outline. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time thinking about writing but not actually doing it.
  3. A community. Writing, in spite of what we hear, is not a solitary effort. The best creativity often happens in collaboration with others. Without a community, you’ll never do your best work.

Most people miss these things. They say they want to write a book some day. They believe they have something to say — and probably do — but without a regular writing habit, it just won’t matter.

You won’t publish a book if you aren’t writing daily. It’s just that simple. And if you aren’t practicing, what you write won’t be worth reading, anyway.

That’s why I’m such a fan of Author Launch, an online community of writers that encourages you to write that book you’ve always wanted to write. There’s nothing quite like it.

Author Launch is a year-long course that delivers weekly video lessons for 46 weeks straight, teaching you everything you need to know about writing a book — from finding the right voice to outlining your book to launching it to the world.

When you commit to writing every day, amazing things happen. They did for me. After a year of writing every day, here’s what happened to me:

  • I built a blog with over 50,000 readers.
  • I got a publishing contract.
  • I started making money off my writing.

Honestly, I never intended to do any of that, but that’s the power of a habit.

If you find yourself saying, “This year will be different” every year, then maybe it’s time to do something different. I suggest getting a plan, joining a community, and having others hold you accountable to your writing goals.

Author Launch does all of that for you, and for the next few days, you can join with an exclusive discount just for being a reader of my blog.

Have you ever thought of writing a book?  Share in the comments.