How to write a book, part 2

A popular posts on this blog is how to write a book: the short honest truth with over  900 comments. It’s the 2nd or 3rd link if you do a google search for how to write a book.

I answer many of the comments and recently rounded up more fun ones to respond to. Here we go.

POPOOLA ABAYOMI asked:

PLAESE HELP ME KNOW HOW TO WRITE

Um, no. Not until you at least spell the first word correctly and turn the caps off. (odds are 50/50 this post was written by my dog, Max, playing a practical joke on me).

Geraint wrote:

hey im 15 and im writing a book and i was wondering what you do when u get writers block because im getting it alot now im on my 1050th page of my book, its good so far i think and i was just wondering if you had any tips on how to get rid of writers block or on how to get inspiration? great article by the way lots of help :D

If that’s not a typo, and you have 1050 pages, your problem is not writers block my friend. You may even have writers anti-block. When you’re in the hundreds of pages it’s a good idea to stop for a few minutes and think about plot and structure. Or find an editor to read some of what you’re written.

Lynne wrote:

I am a surgical RN,,and I know nothing about writing a book,,but I want to write one related to things that are important and maybe useful to others (nothing to do with the medical field), my concerns is how to start the book, do i do a outline first or do I just jump in a start writing and organize later,,what program should I use on my pc???

There is no single way to do this and everyone works differently. Try writing an outline. If you don’t like that, try jumping in. Personally I like outlines. It helps me sort out my thinking and gives a rough structure to aim for, but I’m always willing to abandon the outline when it feels right. It’s also a good barometer for how clear my thinking is, since if I can’t list ten or twelve ideas, or points, or plot notes, it’s unlikely I’ll have enough for an entire chapter, much less a book. But many writers work the other way. The important thing is you try something, and if it doesn’t work, try something else. There are plenty of gimmicky books that offer other methods too.

Chris wrote:

That was great, I decided I will make a film instead.

Hmmm. I actually think making films is harder than writing books, but perhaps I should keep my mouth shut.

Art asked:

I have a wife and a son and while I think others would enjoy my stories would I even be able to get published on a low end well enough to pay the bills persay? I know it’s a question asked quite often and I’ll be doing a bit more searching and I may turn up some answers I just would like to hear it from someone who has been there.

Assume not. And for those story writers who do earn enough to pay the bills it takes years or decades to earn enough credibility and audience for that to happen. It’s certainly possible, but the odds are against it, especially if you’re talking about short stories. Write for other reasons, but do write. You’ll learn much about yourself just by trying.

Ashley inquired:

thanks for the article. I love to write stories, that is in my head i do. I can imagine so many different places, situations, and stories. However, when I sit down to write them out or pick up paper and pen to write it out, I can’t seem to word it right. At least, not all of what i wanted to write. I have great openers, the first chapter, so to speak comes so naturally. I can do an outline of what I want to say, how I want the story to go, but, when it comes to actually writing the whole thing out I get stuck.

and Janet asked:

The problem i’m having is this , it’s all in my head, getting it on paper is the hard part. I started writing one evening about four months ago, and got bugged down with it. Telling the story is very easy ,but putting it in the form of a book i’m having struggles.

Ha! Welcome to the torture of being a creative. There are thousands of musicians who can hear songs in their heads, but can’t make it sound right on the piano or guitar. Painters who imagine canvases in their dreams they can never replicate in the day. The discipline of creative work is learning how to close that gap, over time, through the mastery of craft (See How to find your voice). There is no shortcut. It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, it feels that way for most creative people most of the time. The difference is those who fight through and keep working learn to close the gap. Or perhaps simply make excellent work others love, even if it never perfectly matches what the creator had in their mind (See Why you fail at writing and How to get good at anything).

Lis asked:

How do you get pass the fear? All I keep thinking is that I will be laughed at and think my book stupid.

Weren’t you afraid to leave this comment? You did write it after all, despite the fact I could call you stupid. A book is just a collection of 8,000 or so sentences. If you can write one you can write 8000. When anyone laughs at your book, just say “ok, where is yours?” Then when they start to make up some excuse for not having one, hit them in the face (with your book).

Kim, who perhaps did not read the post, asked:

I know I can write; I live and breath to write. What completely douses my enthusiasm are the odds of getting published. That thought takes the wind right out of me!

To hell with publishers then. Go to kinkos. Go to lulu. If you are obsessed with someone else publishing your book your problem isn’t writing, it’s your ego. Self publishing gives you control over the odds.

Tereai said:

If the truth be told writing is natural. It cannot be taught. Thats why there’s a word called TALENT. If its not in you no matter how you force yourself it wont be as good as the naturals.

Who cares? The coolness of writing is you can revise. If you are willing to put in effort writing gets better as you work with it. I’d agree with you perhaps for figure skating or opera, but the tools for writing are available to all. And besides, name a talented writer who didn’t work. Name a natural. I’d bet you they didn’t see their process, discipline or effort as natural. They’d describe it, much like I did in the original post, as work.

MJ quipped:

The first is write the beginning.
write the end and then fill in the blanks !

As silly as this sounds, the first question I ask people when they ask about writing books is this: Have you written a page? And when they say no, I suggest perhaps their problem isn’t with writing books, it’s with writing a page. If you can’t write a page, don’t worry about books, worry about paragraphs.

If you missed part 1, this will all make more sense if you go back and read it.

152 Responses to “How to write a book, part 2”

  1. Roy

    This blog is very valuable information (and perspective) for someone who wants to take the step of writing to publish or even serious writing in general. Thank you for putting it out there. I have begun writing and before I did so I did some research and found a local literary agent who listed a novel of which I enjoyed very much as one of her favorites. I sent her an email asking if she or one of her staff would consider meeting with me for 15 minutes just to understand the basics and take the appropriate 1st step. She said, ‘Sorry….but literary agents do not give lessons on publishing. Research the web, there is plenty of information out there to answer your questions. Good luck.’ So I did, and I found your Part 1 and Part 2. The thing is, is the internet has varying levels of integrity and anything good usually comes with a fee….which is fair, but many bad things come with a fee also. And who really wants advice from the internet when it comes to writing…I mean I want to sit down with Stephen King! Or, honestly, anyone who is in the industry. Why would a person who wants to start off on the right foot want to trust the internet? On ‘day one’ with no experience and plenty of interest…an old dog or up and coming person in any occupation of the industry is where you want to ask the 1st questions to begin work. Because those answers can be the only honest answers. When I was 17 years old I had some money I had saved from working through high school and I told my mother I was interested in talking to someone about investing. I was intrigued and read Money magazine, etc. My mother owns a small business and spoke to her accountant (a firm) and he was very interested in meeting with me and answering any of my questions before I started trying different things with the $1500 I had. Now, while answering my questions I did invest my money into a mutual fund that he got credit on. But he didn’t talk me into it, he just told me the facts and told me how to invest in others and what I should look for…. Either way I felt he had spoke to me so I chose to work with him and I tripled my money in 5 years and everyone was happy. The days of experienced people wanting to spend 15 minutes to discuss interest in their industry with an interested person seems to have gone away….and not just in the industries of publishing or authoring. Everyone wants to keep things close to the vest. Bah-hum-bug! Why not help someone along? I work more hours than I should in my field and I am successful and there is tons of competition, but why would I not want to help a young person or seasoned fogie if they have an interest. At least to allow the person to understand at the reality…this is what is good, this is what is bad, this is what you don’t want to do and this is what you can expect. Are we selfish, paranoid, or just annoyed? I understand many people might ask for that short cut or secret…but I didn’t, and was clear I was not looking for that. And I am satisfied with the literary agent’s response. I took her advice. But would you not agree that a face to face with someone in this industry would be good? And if so, where can I find that?

    Reply
    1. salaam tarver

      HI my name is salaam Tarver and i am 16 and i want to write a book i know it wont come easy at first but i’m think i am ready for to become an author.Will i got the an idea from my grandfather because he is working on writing a book. The idea came to me because sometimes i don’t like to read books but i can talk about my life or anything that comes to mind.So yes i have some ideas i think that i can put together a book.

      Reply
  2. gretchen

    You sir, are a hoot! Thanks for the giggles. You have loads of practical advice and a great sense of humor. I have been writing since I was young. I have been writing poetry forever and doing readings in the last two years. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book-something more serious but I know most of what you share in your blog so I hesitate.

    Thanks again for the great advice and the laughs along the way.
    Sincerely Gretchen

    Reply
  3. Marco

    Hi im 13 years old and trying to write a book. i have writers block because i cant think of any names that could be used for a tribe/group. Can you help?

    Reply
  4. Marco

    How fast can you answer comments? Please get back to me ASAP but take your time, i dont want to rush you.

    Reply
  5. Caty

    I have been writing since I can remember, but, when the time comes for me to put a male character with my girl character, I belly up and make it a Fan-fiction. Any advice on how to get over chickening out and just pushing through?

    Reply
  6. Itohan Idugie

    Hello sir,
    I’m an African who live in Africa and want to write a very good book. I talk well seemingly and can write very well. But when I start writing sometimes,I just forget so many ideas or phrases I would have said or thought about correctly. Please you have any idea on how I can write a book(non fictional), that inspires people all over.

    Itohan

    Reply
  7. Viviene

    Haha love this post. I went on to research about how to write a book and landed on your blog. Thanks for the honesty =)

    Reply
  8. Rasia

    Hi. Thank you for the article. It is very helpful!! Please help me, I want write a book for children to learn a new language (basic words). It is a dream of my life to do it, but I have idea and I can put it on a paper, however, I do not know what to do next. Please help me. And I also have a problem with pictures for my book, not sure how to put the pictures on the paper, I mean how writers do that?

    Reply
  9. Bradly Shorts

    I love the two articles put together. They make a lot of sense. I have a friend who loves writing and I couldn’t imagine why at the time. I’ve always enjoyed reading and wished I could write but created a block for myself saying I can’t. I know I can because I’m writing this comment right now. The most discouraging part would have to be the work involved. I believe that with the right motivation it wouldn’t be hard work but enjoyable work. My friend never has said it’s been easy, I know it’s not. I hope that everyone that has those inspiring stories share them because I’d love to read them.

    Reply
  10. Charmaine

    I have been starting to write books over the last 2years but I seem to get writers block a lot and then I don’t finish them or I get a new idea for a book. But I want to finish them but don’t have the courage. But I LOVE books and the idea of writing a book. I just don’t know if its worth my time and if its good enough…. And now I have a brilliant idea for a book that could easily lead to a series but I’m not sure.

    Reply
  11. Phil Atkinson

    Hi there
    What a superbly refreshing, down to earth insight into ‘writing a book’. Love your frankness and honesty.

    Reply
  12. Tasha

    Hi,
    I really need some help with,a question,
    What are the requarments to writing a book?
    Like does it have to be such and such page’s? Such and Such many chapters?
    How many pages should be in the chapter.
    Thats the only thing that is holding me back from writing a book. I started many a book but the fire in me just went out.
    But now Ive got a good story i beleive going on. I just need to know the requarments.
    Also, Where would I go to get my book published.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  13. Ash

    I beg you – more, more, more! I am still in school but I have been writing since at least the age of seven. I do not know a life without writing. Some advice fo eveyone: think of your writing as a bowl of water. The water is the very heart of the book but the container is the plot. Plots can change but that writing will allways be there. Never allow yours self to think you cannot. If you start thinking like that you might as well forget it now.

    Reply
  14. Tali

    I need help. My problem isnt writing. The real problem is that i have a story but when i start to write my fingers take me in a whole different dirrection. I reveal things i wasnt planning on revealing later, turn friends into lovers and bassically destroy my entire storyline. Since it still turns out good ive been advised just to go with it but while it may be working now when i get to the end i will have no real structure! What do i do?

    Reply
    1. Scott Berkun

      What you will do is write a second draft. If you plan to write a second draft, you’ll be able to sift through where your story went, find the parts that work, and rewrite your story with that in mind. All good writing is rewriting.

      Reply
  15. Catherine Hendry

    I want to write about my illness and disability. MANY people suffer from the same thing, and we need a voice. I have gastroparesis (paralyzed stomach), DTP (digestive tract paralysis), DJD (dejenerative joint disorder, RLS (restless leg syndrome), RSD (reflexive sympathetic dystrophy), CD/ST (cervical dystonia/spasmodic torticolus), fibromyalgia, not to mention, SEVERE anxiety and panic disorder, bi-polarism. PLEASE help! This book is going to help SO many. Allowing them to see THEY ARE NOT ALONE! I have mentioned this in my group sessions and have gotten ONLY requests and urging to write this book.

    Reply
  16. Ashleigh Chase

    It’s both funny and slightly scary just how badly written some of the comments on these two posts are.
    You can clearly tell the difference between those that really have a chance at writing sonething decent and others who can barely speak english. Let alone write a novel.
    I mean I can obviously forgive that easily in people for whom english isn’t their first language. But there’s questions there that they would already know the answers to had they actualy read the whole post. And commenting on something without actualy reading it all, that’s just rude.
    Okay well maybe just slightly annoying, I’m no grammar nazi, people just need more common sense. Which really needs renaming because it’s become so rare.
    I have a question myself though, and i know that tnis post was a while back but if i get a response it’ll be worth it.
    So you were saying that writing like many creative outlets doesn’t pay well, it’s sad how many great artists lived in poverty, selling work for pitiable amounts that now sells for hundreds of thousands. Don’t get me started on some of the modern art. Buying a blank canvas for £50,000… Idiotic, especialy considering how many peoples lives that money could save if used properly. Anyway i’m going off topic again.
    I’ve been trying to write a book for a few years but i was always having new ideas, dropping old ones and starting afresh with the new. So i didn’t make much progress. I’ve been working on a story for a short while now and i’m going about it very differently, instead of charging head on i’m making mind maps of my ideas and writing out sample pieces to see if they feel right and it’s working so far.
    So i’m 16 and i know that although writing is my passion i probably won’t be able to make a decent living off of it. And although i don’t think you’re supposed to start a sentance with the word and i just did, seems a stupid rule. I was wondering if you had any ideas of jobs you’ve had yourself or seen other writers do to support their writing?

    Reply
  17. clorise

    Ok so i’m in the middle of writing a book and when I went to write the next sentance I didnt know what to write.

    Reply
  18. Rachel Howeth

    Your comments are awesome! I’ve enjoyed just reading those. I hope you are wildly successful with your career.

    Reply
  19. Kyle

    Thank you for writing this, I know you enjoyed doing so. I have learned a lot from you. I am 17 years old, I had a rough, very abnormal life. I have the plot of the book and I know what I need to work on; I need to turn it into a fiction and fill in all of the little things, (which would be the hardest part for me). It will take me a very long time but in the end it will all be worth it – I’m determined.

    Reply
  20. Elizabeth

    “When anyone laughs at your book, just say “ok, where is yours?” Then when they start to make up some excuse for not having one, hit them in the face (with your book).”

    Awesome! :-)

    Reply
    1. wisteria

      I always did want to hit someone with a book

      Reply
  21. Tyrion

    When I was little, in primary school, I always said I wanted to be an author. For many years I was top at my class in English for my writing skills and my imagination. Right now, I’m 15 years old and I still want to write a book, specifically a novel of some kind. I come up with ideas everyday but none are worthy of the time I want to dedicate on putting it to paper, making it real. The idea is my problem, I’ve been struggling for what feels like forever trying to come up with a good idea.

    Reply
  22. wisteria

    I think I’ll still write a book and go through all that work. Thanks for your honest and funny opinion. :)

    Reply
  23. BB3B

    I have written about 27 A4 pages but i get bored really easily. I find it really easy to get and plan all these plots and whole book ideas. But after a while of writing i get bored but when i take a break i never go back to finish it. Do you have and ideas of how i could fix that? Thanxs :)

    Reply
  24. Deadfoot

    Hello, I like start this with a big thankyou for the advice and guidance… they have made me re-think whether I could actually commit myself to writing. I have chosen to give it another go and see where it all takes me.

    For quite a few years now, I have had a couple of stories going around and around in my head.. When I goto bed and settle for the night, instead of sleep – I find myself adding bits and imagining scenes, plots and developing characters for hours before eventually drifting off.
    My problem is, I don’t seem to be able to express these “ideas” into words that flow, make sense and form what would be considered a ‘good read’.
    I have attempted many many times to put these images into words and have failed miserably every time. I just don’t have the ‘golden touch’ with words and language to weave a good descriptive world that the reader could be absorbed in.

    Is there any advice anyone can give me that will help get these thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto paper in such a way that the reader could feel, sense, believe.?

    Reply
  25. Sean

    This is great stuff. I’ve went through all those notions. I’ve read a few authors on the subject of writing and they all say the same thing. Firstly they are in love with writing. They are a slave to it. It is what they want to do. And the second thing they say is that they work hard at it. Hours and hours and maybe only a paragraph comes from it.
    The only “naturals” I’ve ever heard come from seasoned veterans after years of working their craft they whip out a book in no time. Those two people are Stephen King who apparently was ripped out of his mind when he wrote Cujo and doesn’t remember a thing about the process. King was writing from the moment he could pick up a pencil though. At that point in his life it came pretty natural. The other is Cormac McCarthy when he wrote The Road in like a week or something ridiculous like that. He too had been writing his entire life and well, he’s Cormac McCarthy.
    Awesome stuff! Write on

    Reply
  26. trevor

    Great article and good advice not to mention the fact you added a bit of wit in there. Good job keep it up

    P.S. I will have to disagree with the comment or name Sean.Stephen King in my opinion has only written maybe one good book in his entire career and that my good sir was PET SEMETARY.

    Reply
    1. Serena Salieri

      While I enjoyed Pet Sematary a lot and it is one of my favorite of Stephen King’s Books, I must respectfully disagree with you. The Stand and It are much better, fuller and richer works than Pet Sematary.

      Reply
      1. Kari

        I have to also say that my favorite Stephen King book is “Eyes of the Dragon.” Not his usual, and VERY good!

        Reply
      2. Leanna Wortel

        I never read Pet Semetary…is that a well known book. I have read Pet Cemetary.

        Reply
        1. Eleanor

          ^ Leanna Wortel- Get your facts right before trying (emphasis on ‘trying’) to a) make other people feel stupid and b) make yourself look superior. The book is called Pet Sematary; to find out why, please reread the book. (Perhaps this link will be of assistance!)

          http://www.theguardian.com/books/series/rereading-stephen-king

          Also, please note that ‘cemetary’ is spelt ‘cemetery’. Apart from the aforementioned points… kudos for your comment. You sure showed the previous commenters.

          Reply
          1. Trolls are depressing

            Nicely done, ma’am.

  27. Serena Salieri

    Thank you for your blog and for this post! It’s humorous, well written and insightful. I love to write. I’ve been doing it as far back as I can remember. I’ve had some work published, but if I had expected to live on my love of this craft, I would have starved. A completed novel still eludes me, but I am determined and will get there someday. Published or not, it will be finished!

    Thank you for the advice, the laughs and pointing out the challenges!

    Reply
  28. A Arthur

    This is an excellent blog for getting advise on how to write a novel. I am in the midst of it and am looking for advise such as those given in your blog.

    Thank you

    A Arthur

    Reply
  29. raymondvern

    I RECENTLY SIGNED UP TO BE PAID FOR WRITING ESSAYS.
    THE FIRST ESSAY I SUBMITTED WAS DECLARED A PLAGERIZATION!
    BUT THE WEBMASTER WOULD NOT TELL ME WHAT MATERIAL I PALGERIZED. IT WAS AROUND FEBUARY AND I REALIZED THAT THEY BLEW THIER CAR MOTOR IN THE SUB-DEGREE COLD, AND WAS DESPERATE AND JUST SIMPLY ROBBED MY MATERIAL AND DID THE PLAGERIZING, AND GOT PAID. HITLERS WORKS PREVAILS MY FAVORITE AS A RESULT OF THIS TYPE OF TREATMENT I’VE BEEN GETTING ONLINE, IT’S HAPPENED TO ME A LOT, IS THERE ANYONE WILLING TO PAY ME TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THE INTERNET BEING A FAILURE BECAUSE IT ONLY PAYS A FEW; BLACK AND WHITE THAT ARE WILLING TO TAKE THE CHANCE WITH BEING CAUGHT & THEN SOME. IF YOU NEED A BOOK OF REAL STORIES ON BEING BILKED, I AM ASKING ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN ADVANCE. I DON’T GAURANTEE A BEST SELLER, BUT ALMOST!

    Reply
    1. Kasey

      Deal with it. You lucked out. You didn’t cover your arse and quite honestly, if you wrote like the above I don’t blame them for stealing it – correcting the spelling mistakes, grammar, caps lock and inserting full stops and paragraphs!
      As for writing a book re the internet being a failure, ha ha good luck with that and I guarantee someone has already done it, but hey give it a go if you must! Writing a book is easy, making it interesting enough to sell is a talent not everyone possesses.

      Reply
  30. Kate

    What is your take on pseudonyms? Are they a cop out or a decent way to go if you are kind of very shy?

    Reply
  31. Dave Smith

    How short may a book be? Thank you.

    Reply
  32. Jen Mills

    I really enjoyed combing through several of your articles this morning after spewing my own thoughts on paper for a few hours. It gave me a nice kick in the rear, which is just what I was looking for, and I went back to one of my outlines to add to it and polish it up. Then my problem arose, like the ghost of writing’s future: I come up with something better. It’s just a simple change to my story; one that adds depth, character and plot, all of the tasty things we eat up books for. It sounds great, and I love that my ‘problem’ can easily be called something positive, but it’s beginning to be my headache. I have been writing this book for about 6 years now, and I can barely keep straight just who my main character is supposed to be, let alone anyone or anything else. The project has seen book outlines as a single novel, a trilogy, perhaps only 2, now 5 books total, then back to 1 as the story has jumped through a million plot line hoops in scattered locations. Now it’s just a mess.

    My inquiry, if you find the time to answer it, would be to ask for your advice on this issue. How do I settle for the story I already have 90% perfected and just write around the aspects I don’t like? If that isn’t the best perspective, how long do I let my story run rampant like a dog that will never learn to sit before I enroll it in a training class? I just can’t seem to beat the exhaustion front on anymore that comes from my story up and flipping over on me, upsetting everything that had a place and leaving a mess of all my hours of work only to start again. My creativity hinders my actual writing progress and my attempts to make a cohesive story hinder my creative solutions. Argghhh!

    Thank you in advance for any advice, even the hard-to-hear stuff
    Jen

    Reply
  33. steve

    very interesting article . I think this will help me get started. Thank you so much for your input.

    Reply
  34. steve

    Very interesting article. I think this will help me get started.Thank you so much for your input.

    Reply
  35. Anthony

    As a fifteen-year-old who is an aspiring writer, I have reached a certain complication that has irked me for several years now. I have been in the throes of writing a fantasy series, and my largest pitfall is ‘motivation.’ There are many days when writing even a few sentences is absolutely horrid — others where I cannot cease letting the words flow, and elicit a fifty page turnout.

    I’m not certain if ‘motivation’ is what I am looking for, here — perhaps a way to solve writer’s block?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
  36. Mary

    wat doo u meen i half 2 rite rite? hee hee.

    Reply
  37. Chiara

    I love to write, just because I can put my thoughts and feelings in words. But I always wane to write a book and I would like to start now. Any advise on where or how should I start. Thank you

    Reply
  38. maria

    I am 11 years old and I am writing my 1st book,wish me luck:]

    Reply
    1. Leah

      Good luck! I’m 13 and want to write a book just don’t know where to start.

      Reply
    2. V.S.

      Oh, hey, me too! I have this idea, and I want to get it on paper soon. I’m glad to find out that another 11 year old is doing this, too!

      Reply
    3. Cam

      As a young writer myself ( same age as you) I didnt love actually writing the book at first. In ALWAYS imagine before I type. Or i just be plain Jane and make an outline Ha!

      Reply
  39. ashlen

    thanks for the advice I am trying to write a book but it is so hard

    Reply
  40. James

    Recently I have felt that I have been able to express myself in the furthest degree by writing. Even though I write, my grammar is awful because I was never taught much in elementary and middle school. I thought that maybe on my spare time off of work and school I would write a book that represented the struggles in my life as themes within the book. Do you think it would be difficult to write a book with the lack of grammar ability that I have? Also I feel like I have so many outlets that I could write that I like, but I am afraid that they might not last very long and then burnout (sort of like a bottle rocket). What do you suggest I do?

    Reply
  41. Peter Marion

    I appreciate your candid style. Short, sweet and to the point. I have committed to writing a book, actually two books. I know that may sound odd but having two different projects on the go helps me keep fresh and creative with each one. The first book is about the wine industry which I am deeply involved, the other is about the car business in the 60’s – I grew up in this business. Am I taking on too much?

    Reply
  42. V.S.

    I’m 11, and I have an idea for a book. But, I don’t know if i should start now or wait until I’m older. It feels like 11 year olds shouldn’t be writing books, right? Or wrong?

    Reply
    1. Scott

      Wrong. Write now. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll improve. And if you finish a book this year and want to publish no one will know how old you are. Plenty of authors write under pen names. Even J.K. Rawlings. Go for it.

      Reply
      1. V.S.

        Yay! Thank you sooooo much! I’m going to go start making ideas for my book right now! Thanks again!

        Reply
  43. Taressa

    I have an idea for a novel, and am totally in love with it. I haven’t started officially writing, but have put plenty of notes on paper. My problem is that I have a lot of anxiety that if and when I get published, no one else will love my writing and in fact hate it. I don’t really share my ideas with others either because not all of my ideas are formed completely yet and I am quite frankly afraid of the harsh judgement others may give. I know it’s ridiculous because when it is published everyone will have their own opinion and if I love my book then that’s should be enough anyways, but I was wondering if you have had any such related worries while writing and if you had any suggestions on dealing with it, who and how to share ideas with others, and even how much I should share.

    Reply
  44. jane

    To never write is to never be read. Why not try? And if you are afraid of getting your writing published, even though you know it would be accepted (or you hope it would be) print out a copy of your story, and accidentally lose it. Then find it again, maybe a year or so later, and if you still think it’s good, then try getting it published. And there’s always self-publishing, if you still don’t have enough guts to send it into someone. :)

    Reply
  45. Marie

    I have wanted to write books since I was 12. I’m 44 and have only ever jotted down ideas. Your post has inspired me to begin my book now. Right now, after I’m done submitting this. Thank you! You made me realize that I need support not permission from my loved ones. What’s ironic is my desire to write books as I rarely read them. Are authors typically avid “book” readers? I love to read and I read a lot, just not books. Lol.

    Reply
    1. Scott

      On reading: could you be a good chef without eating food?

      Good luck!

      Reply
  46. syd

    I’m 13 and i’m trying to write a book. How do I get started?

    Reply
    1. Roncika

      when you really get inspiration for something just write, don’t re-read for errors just write what comes to mind,editing can come later

      Reply
  47. Roncika

    so I began writing a book, I’m fifteen years old, I’m on my second day, third page and I’m forcing myself to write more indirect speech because I’m told I use to much dialogue with characters. Secondly, I have a summary of my book but..I don’t have much details, I think I’m having writer’s block

    Reply
    1. Cam

      Well, think about what your favorite subject or even memory is, and try and have the character expirience it! Hope that helped

      Reply
  48. Leanne

    I’ve always been asked to share my “Story” during school events more focused on Bullying, Loving yourself, and things like that. I’m 17 going 18 and I was just thinking “Maybe I should write a book?”. It would be a book about my journey going through 6th-9th grade and what I actually went through on the Inside….. But I’m stuck on where to start.

    Reply
    1. Seth E!

      Did u listen to yourself? Start maybe 1-3 weeks before school. Or just start on the first day of 6th grade.

      Reply
  49. Justina

    Hi,

    I love writing and have started 3 books which I have not finished. I have a great idea for another book but I am afraid I will fall in the same rut and not finish it. For one of the books I got a bit far into it but I was advised that I was not leaving the character to develop on its own and dislodge it from my personal life. How do I do this please especially since most of the things I write are often dramatized events in my own life. Or do I need a new approach

    Reply
  50. Alyssa

    Im 16 years old and after many years as an avid reader have finally decided to write a book of my own. I am only few pages in as I literally just started a few days agi and am having to squeeze writing in with school and chores. I love writing so far, but had never consisered my work ever being good enough to get published until my mom told me my dad had mentioned the idea to her, which made me both excited and nervous. After considering it for a while I am now absolutely determined to not only finish my book but to also publish it once it is finished. That said having no idea about self publication and being a profectionist I decided to search how to write a book. Thats when I found your articles, and I have to say they have helped me alot. I love that you are not afraid to tell us budding authors the truth about writing even when you know it might but hard to hear. Thank you very much for yur honest. There is just one question you have yet to answer, what is a good way to deal with writers block which I have already experienced twice. I typically walk away for a little and just stop thanking about it then after a few minutes to a few hours I try again often with more success, but I was wondering if you had any other tips or tricks for dealing with writers block that might be help full.

    Reply
  51. Seth E!

    Spoken as how I would say it, Ashley. *I applaud*

    Reply
  52. Jose T. White

    There are millions of people out there who aspire to be writers. The majority of them have a real issue with having “too many ideas” to be able to sit down and finish a story.

    Reply

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