1. You Cannot Be Afraid of Hard Work
Writing a book takes a lot of work, but writing a successful book requires more than just work. It requires dedication, determination, and you will work harder than you ever have before. Expect to spend many hours, not only writing your book, but perfecting it. Expect numerous rewrites and edits. Plan to write every day, no exceptions.
2. Study Best Sellers
Don’t just read other successful books in your genre, study them, too. Choose a book you have already read and enjoyed and reread it. Take notes on the plot and how the author introduces the characters. Study how the plot builds and make notes on the subplots. There is a lot to be learned by simply reading a book and plotting it out.
3. Know Your Audience
When you are busy studying other best sellers in your genre, you will also discover what the readers want in a book. Learn what excites your audience and why they buy the books in your genre.
4. Prepare for Rewrites
Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, prepare yourself for a lot of rewrites. Polish your manuscript before you show it to anyone. Go back and add more description to your scenes and eliminate wordiness. Delete entire chapters, condense sections, and write new ones.
5. Always Have Pen and Paper
Always keep pen and paper on you. At any given moment you may come up with a plot twist or a character idea for your book. You need to write down your thoughts and ideas right away because you will more than likely forget them if you don’t get them down on paper.
When you make the decision to write a book, you are making the decision to focus on the project 24 hours, 7 days a week. When you are at your day job, you will be thinking on your plot. You will dream about your book. For those hours that you dedicate to writing, you will be putting all your thoughts and daydreams onto paper or the screen. Book writing requires more focus than the care of a newborn baby, because books and your creativity never take naps.
7. Plot, Plot, Plot
I don’t care if you like writing out plots before writing a book or not. The simple fact is that you need to understand what a plot is and how to develop it. Read up on plotting techniques and gain a full understanding of the different types of plots. Putz around with Plotto for a day and explore the 3 act plot. Learn how to build upon a basic plot skeleton and apply your knowledge to your writing.
8. Give Yourself Deadlines
As writers, we are our own boss. This means that we have to set a schedule and set deadlines so that things get done. Learn to give yourself realistic deadlines and, while you are at it, set daily writing goals for yourself so that you know you can meet the deadlines.
9. Write the Unwritable
Dare yourself to write about things that other people won’t write. This is true in both fiction and non-fiction. In fiction, dare to express the rawest emotions, the most primal fears, and the kind of love that makes your head swoon. In non-fiction, explore topics that other writers neglect, whether the topics are neglected because they are too simple, too complicated, too gross, or too shocking. Take your readers to new heights, new depths, and open their eyes to the world(s) around them.