1. Create a Workspace (or clean up the one you have)
It doesn’t matter if you plan on doing the bulk of your writing in the library or in your bed, you should have a designated workspace in your home, apartment, or room. A basic desk and a comfortable chair are the two main ingredients for your workspace. Everything else, such as bookshelves, is icing on the cake.
If you already have a workspace, get it cleaned up. Organize your papers and put away the books you won’t be using for your book.
2. Make Quiet Time
Unless you are one of those people who can write in the midst of chaos, chances are pretty high that you will need quiet time to work on your book. Make arrangements with your friends and family so that they understand your need for quiet time.
You will also need to turn off all distractions and email notifications. If you can, turn off your internet connection to avoid getting sidetracked by social media.
3. Find an Idea
After you have created an environment for writing, the next task is to start coming up with ideas on what to write about.
A nonfiction writer should come up with 3 or more ideas in a sitting because not all nonfiction ideas are worth turning into a book.
A fiction writer should begin toying around with basic story themes and characters. Write a basic summary of your story, such as, “A woman falls in love with a mysterious man, but is he really the right man for her or is everything she finds out about him a lie?”
4. Research the Market
After you have a basic idea or ideas, it is time to check out the market.
Nonfiction writers can easily research their ideas on Amazon.com by checking out the ratings on books similar to their ideas. They can also research keywords on Google to see how many people are searching for terms relevant to their topic ideas.
Fiction writers should also take a look on Amazon.com to see how well other books in their genre are selling and to see what other writers are publishing. During this time, they should choose which genre or sub-genre they are going to write their book under.
5. Research or Read 3+ Books Similar to Your Idea
After you have chosen to write about an idea, you should make an effort to read books similar to the one you are writing. Nonfiction writers will also use these books for research for their own book. Fiction writers will be studying plots ideas and character development.
6. Create a Basic Outline
After your research, it is time to begin working on an outline.
Outlines are essential for writing nonfiction. They ensure that you cover everything in your book in a chronological fashion and outlines force you to do your research before you start writing the book.
With fiction, there are many different styles to outlining. Some writers avoid outlines altogether. Some prefer a short outline that shows all the plot points. Other writers create an outline that is 10 or more pages long. Choose your outline style and, if it doesn’t work, you can always stop writing and go back to build or deconstruct your original outline.
After you have completed all of the above, the only thing left for you to do is write. One of the hardest things a writer faces is the actual writing. Plant your butt in a chair and prepare yourself mentally for the long haul.
Create a daily word count goal. I find this helps me reach my writing goals quickly. With a set daily word count, I am able to devote those words to both blog and book writing.
Some writers skip keeping tabs on their word count and instead use blocks of time. For example, they give themselves 1 to 4 hours of writing time a day.
Find a method that works best for you and refine it.