You Are At: AllSands Home > Writing > Writing your first book
One thing causes writers to fail in their first attempts at writing books is a lack of commitment. It is very easy to underestimate the commitment that writing a book requires. It is also extremely easy to start a book and extremely hard to finish one. But if you use the following steps, your chances of success at writing your first book will greatly increase.

First and foremost, MAKE AN OUTLINE. It is far too tempting to think that you don't need an outline. But believe me, you-- and all other novelists-- have always and will always need an outline. One of the most important things an outline does is to test the idea that was the inspiration for your book. Just because an idea survives the outline does not mean that it can survive being the subject of an entire book. But if the idea isn't deep enough to inspire an entire outline, it will surely never become a book. So the first thing an outline is good for is weeding out bad ideas. The second thing it is good for is giving you an idea of the direction your book needs to take.

Writing a book is like building a house. To get the final shape you want you have to start with a solid, well -planned foundation, and to know how to build the foundation you need to know what the house will eventually look like. That doesn't mean you can't tear down a few walls or redesign a few hallways along the way. But having a general plan is essential.

Another valuable tool in planning a book is a flow chart. This is a chart of all the characters and/or ideas in a book, and how they interact. This will help you establish the proper foundations in the beginning for later interactions.

When you are done planning your book and ready to begin writing it, the most important thing to do is to establish a writing schedule. If you write in a pattern at the same time everyday, you are much more likely to refrain from making excuses and to be very productive. Another important thing to realize is that writing is a process of mood swings. Before you are satisfied with the end product of your book you will have loved and hated very words alternately a dozen times over. But a good writer has the restraint to not send everything away to the publisher the second he thinks he loves everything he's written, and to not throw it all in the trash (or worse, the fireplace) when he thinks he hates his work.

Expect these mood swings, and learn to put your work down for awhile when you have them. When you return a few days later with your mind cleared, you will be able to see your work in a new light.

Of course, the most obvious advice is to not give up. Even if you think your idea isn't as good as it once was remember: finishing a book, even if it is bad, will teach you much more than giving up on a book ever could.