How to Write your First Book

As most of you know, Buzzfeed has quickly become one of the most visited, most posted, and most referred to websites around. I couldn’t think of anybody I know who is currently working on a major piece of writing. So, I went to the web to research some of my favorite authors and hope that one of them is currently writing another novel and being interviewed on the writing process!! Well, during my research, I found a Buzzfeed article titled “How to Write Your First Book.” I thought it was really interesting and probably relevant to many of our aspirations at some point in the future. (If you’re anything like me, you’ve dreamed of publishing a book of your own since you picked your first book off the library shelves!) This Buzzfeed article offers words of advice from 21 successful and published writers.

Each of these questions were answered by a varied group of the 21 authors:

Was the proposition of writing a book intimidating or crazy-seeming, or were you confident you could do it? 

Did you show people sections or drafts of your manuscript as you wrote it?

What obstacles did you encounter while writing?

All told, how long did it take you to write the book, from idea to selling it? 

What do you know now that you wish you’d known then? What advice would you give your younger self?

What I gathered from this piece is that the writing process varies largely depending on the person. While ten authors had completely different obstacles to face while writing their first books, each one of them was able to work through those obstacles and successfully publish a piece. The authors in the Buzzfeed article took anywhere from 8 months to 8 years to finish their first book! Some of these writers answered that they had never shown their work to anybody until it was signed on by the publishing company,  and some admit that they showed each chapter to their loved ones for constant opinions. One of the most important things, according to these authors, is to make sure to take in all of the feedback – good and bad – and work it into your piece!

Chang-Rae Lee (author of Native Speaker) looked back on his experience writing his first book, stating that “he wishes he had had a little bit more faith in himself at times.” This quote strikes me as very important. While we are working on these semester-long intensive projects meant to showcase our abilities, our strengths, and our skills, it is probably easy to succumb to the obstacles we may face along the way. However, if we maintain the confidence in ourselves, and stay true to the statements we are trying to make, the topics we are trying to explore, and the artwork we are trying to create, the project will be worth it and will come out successfully.

Here is the Buzzfeed article if you are interested in getting some tips from these successful authors: http://www.buzzfeed.com/sandraeallen/how-to-write-your-first-book

2 thoughts to “How to Write your First Book”

  1. I think you’ve brought up not-so-obvious but extremely important emotional aspects of the process of working on a big project: accepting feedback – good and bad – and being confident in yourself. Even though we’ve spent a lot of time talking about content, form, technique, etc., it’s just as important to think about staying focused on our goals and checking in with other people when we need advice or reassurance. We’re bound to run into problems, but in a way, that’s what we wanted when we chose complex and interesting research topics. It’s a good thing we have so many professors and classmates who can give us feedback throughout the semester!

  2. I am glad you posted this because today I really needed to read it. It can be disheartening to hear criticism or worse when you sit down to write a timeline of your project and ask “Oh my God what have I gotten myself into?” So I am really feeling the encouragement. How are you feeling in terms of your project? Anxious, stressed, cool, calm, and collected? We’re here for feedback and encouragement as you need it!

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