A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Your Own Book

Writing a book can indeed be a formidable task for beginners, but there are valuable resources available nowadays to guide you through the process.

Successful writers have shared their insights in books dedicated to helping aspiring authors navigate the complexities of bringing a novel to fruition. Utilizing these guides can provide a structured approach to breaking down the journey into manageable steps.

That said, completing a book is a significant accomplishment. Once your manuscript is complete, exploring various publishing options allows you to share your story with a wider audience. The prospect of seeing your name on the cover of a book, ready to be enjoyed by readers, is undoubtedly exciting.

But if you don’t know how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, we’re going to cover the process of writing your own book as a beginner. Let’s get started.

Things You’ll Need to Get Started

Before delving into the planning and drafting phases of writing a book, you should first consider these three essential elements:

A Writing Space

Your dedicated writing space should be where you feel most comfortable. It varies for each writer, and the conventional quiet room and tidy desk might not suit everyone.

The ideal writing space can change depending on the nature of the book. For instance, a crime novelist might prefer a space surrounded by books and notes for reference.

Something to Write On

Consider the medium you’re comfortable with – whether typing into software, handwriting in a physical notebook, or using a typewriter. Various software options, like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Apple Pages, or specialized book writing software such as Scrivener, Campfire, and LivingWriter, are available.


Acceptance involves letting go of predetermined standards and creating a realistic idea of what your book can be. Acknowledge and accept your abilities and limitations before planning your book to avoid setting unrealistic expectations.

Accept changes to your story, especially since the initial idea may evolve during the writing process.

Acknowledging and embracing these elements, especially self-acceptance and flexibility in the writing process, are crucial for overcoming challenges and completing a book. Recognizing that the finished product may differ from the initial idea allows for a more adaptable and fulfilling writing experience.

The Book Writing Process

The act of sitting down and writing is foundational to novel writing. However, there are crucial process steps to consider both before and after the initial writing phase. Various methods for writing a book can be found online and in reference books.

Here’s a simplified overview of the key steps:

Looking for Ideas and Inspiration

If you aspire to write a book but lack a concrete idea, there are ways to spark your creative mind. First off, you have to establish what your book is about, as everything else will revolve around that core concept.

Start by exploring your own life experiences for inspiration. Even seemingly ordinary details can serve as rich sources of creative fuel. Don’t underestimate the power of your personal journey; it can provide unique perspectives and narratives.

If self-reflection doesn’t resonate with you, consider people-watching. Observing strangers and crafting stories around them can be a captivating exercise.

Coffee shops in city centers, especially those with a second story overlooking the streets, offer ideal settings for unobtrusive observation.

Allow your imagination to roam freely as you invent stories for the people you observe. The richness of human interaction and the scenarios that unfold in everyday life can be a boundless wellspring of inspiration for your book.

Understanding Your Writing Style

Understanding your writing style is crucial, and writers often fall into three main categories: the plotter, the pantser, and the plantser.

These designations are based on the level of planning a writer undertakes before beginning a book.

A plotter enjoys detailed planning before starting the first draft and prefers knowing the entire storyline and developing characters thoroughly before diving into the narrative.

A pantser plans very little before writing and writes “from the seat of their pants,” allowing the story to unfold organically. They also thrive on the spontaneous and creative aspects of writing.

Then there’s the plantser which is a hybrid approach that combines elements of both plotting and pantsing. They enjoy some level of planning but not as extensively as a plotter and value the balance between structure and creative freedom during the writing process.

The amount of time spent planning varies based on individual preferences and the nature of the book. Certain genres or historical settings may necessitate more planning. For instance, writing a novel set in the 19th century may require significant research and planning, even for writers who typically favor a pantser approach.

Understanding your writing style allows you to approach each project in a way that aligns with your creative process.

Breaking Things Down

Before diving into the actual writing of your book, keep in mind that the prospect of producing 50,000 words or more can be overwhelming.

Whether your planning is meticulous or you simply have a general idea of the book’s content, the writing process itself can seem daunting.

As Desmond Tutu wisely said, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” This advice is applicable to your book-writing journey as well.

This means you have to consider breaking down your book into manageable sections that you can tackle in each writing session. For a novel, this could involve dividing it into chapters or even focusing on smaller units like scenes.

If you’re working on a reference or nonfiction book, breaking it down into sections and chapters can make the writing process more approachable and achievable.

Taking it step by step allows you to navigate the writing process with greater ease and less overwhelm.

Editing Your Work

Editing is a crucial phase in the writing process, and it’s important to approach it strategically. While some writers may choose to edit as they write, many find it more effective to focus on completing the first draft without extensive editing.

Once the initial draft is finished, taking a break before diving into the editing process allows for a fresh perspective.

There are four main types of editing, each serving a distinct purpose:

Developmental Editing

This one focuses on significant details such as characterization, plot, pacing, and settings. It also addresses major elements of the novel as a whole.

Structural Editing (or Line Editing)

Structural editing examines language features like tone, style, and overall flow to ensure consistency in language throughout the narrative. It also refines the writing to align the tone with the actions and scenes.


This type of editing operates at a sentence level, checking for grammar, spelling, consistency, and language. It’s best done after completing developmental and structural edits.

You can even use software tools like ProWritingAid Realtime checker to help you identify and correct errors.


This refers to the final edit, scrutinizing the manuscript for any overlooked errors. It ensures the highest level of polish and professionalism in the finished work.

For those writing historical novels or seeking factual accuracy, fact-checking can be incorporated as an additional editing stage after either developmental or structural editing.

While this overview provides a broad understanding of the editing process, each stage requires careful attention and may involve multiple iterations. Resources like the ProWritingAid blog offer detailed articles to guide writers through the nuances of editing their novels effectively.

Final Thoughts

Writing a book is a lengthy process, but approaching it at a pace that suits you can lead to the successful achievement of your goal. Taking the time to understand the components of a novel and aligning them with reader expectations can streamline the editing stage.

Embrace the journey of writing a book as an opportunity for creativity and enjoyment. The process allows you to weave intricate stories, craft memorable characters, and even find catharsis in exploring challenges through your characters.

After all, the act of living vicariously through your creations adds an extra layer of fulfillment to your writing experience.

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