Want to know how to start a book that you’ll actually finish?

how to start a book

I’m speaking to the writer inside you; that person who wants to know how to start a book that you have a prayer of actually finishing. Yeah, you thought I didn’t know, right? Didn’t know that secretly, deep down, you’ve always wanted to write a book, see your name on a book shelf at the library or Barnes and Noble.

But I knew, I knew ALL along that you secretly held that little spark inside that wants to be heard. And I also know that you’ve tried, maybe more than once, to write a book but the task is BIG and you don’t know where to begin.

It’s been many a century since Gutenberg invented the printing press in the mid 1400’s and the masses not only were allowed, but needed and encouraged to become literate. It’s another case of how one invention changed the world.

Fast forward to a new millennium, here we sit in 2013 and we are still reading and still fighting for better literacy.

Although I believe lately that those literacy standards are reversed with the boomers having experienced traditional literacy, purchasing and borrowing books to read, owning newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and exchanging personal and business related letters throughout their lives. While Gen Y consumes 78% of their news digitally for free, read on their Kindle, Nook or iPad and text in shorthand rather than write letters longhand.

Boomers may be literate in the traditional sense, but Gen Y, Millenials are digitally literate. But that’s a topic for another blog post. Let’s get back to you and

How to start a book that you can actually finish.

Recently I had the good fortune to interview Donna Kozik who is the creator and leader of the Write a Book in a Weekend virtual online events. And when she says write a book in a weekend, she means it.

Donna said that one of the key elements of how to start a book that you can finish is to get in the right mindset from the beginning. You’re not going to write War and Peace the first time out. Give yourself permission to start smaller and dedicate yourself to getting it done.

The goal is not to get off the blocks writing your legacy book, but to get your toe wet with a book that is “modest in content but meaningful in message”. Donna says to aim for 25,ooo words or approximately 10o pages.

Think of how to write a book as being very similar to writing a report or term paper in school. Begin with an outline of your topic. It’s important to start with the outline because as every writer knows, the process of writing is very organic and sometimes your writing takes you to a place you hadn’t planned on going.

While that can be a good thing when you’re writing fiction, for a non-fiction book, it can make the difference between actually finishing a book that makes sense, or not. Don’t throw away any tangents that you find your mind went on. But check your outline often, and then ruthlessly edit out the tangents that don’t belong in this book. You can save them for the next one.

Kozik says to create your outline with the 7-9 concepts you will cover. The 10,000 foot view of your topic. Then list 5-7 questions about each of those concepts. The process of writing this outline will give you a very comprehensive structure and view of your book. It will almost start to write itself.

Your outline is the key of how to start a book that you can actually finish, be proud of, and use in marketing your business.

Listen to the full interview with Donna Kozik on this episode of ACT LOCAL Marketing for Small Business. Visit her website freebookplanner.com for a free book writing planner that will teach you how to start a book and finish it.