What Everyone Ought to Know About Writing Their First Book


How many times have you seen a picture of a beautiful girl sitting somewhere romantic with pen and paper crafting the next great American novel? Her thoughtful expression, nicely tanned legs, and lithe little body look so confident and soul-fulfilled. She couldn’t possibly be troubled by making her next car payment, fixing the water heater, dealing with a demanding boss, or fighting a toddler-induced migraine.

We see her and buy into the myth that writing will magically transport us to this blissful state. Our creative mind feeds us images from our own yet-to-be-written bestsellers. We picture ourselves at that romantic location, and dream how beautiful life would be if only we had the kind of time to devote to our writing as that hot little number in the photo.

I get it. I bought the dream, too. Even splurged for a set of gel pens and a leather-bound journal. Got the latest version of the trendy writing software, enrolled in an online class, and signed up for a critique group.

And wrote… nothing.

I blamed it on the chaotic state of my desk. I scooped up all the bills and random paperwork and shoved them in a kitchen drawer, bought some cork boards and hung pictures of my novel’s setting from the internet. I blew an entire weekend watching YouTube for inspiration on one of my sidekick characters.

My writing desk

And wrote… nothing.

I bought a more comfortable chair for my new writing haven, clipped inspirational quotes from magazines, and subscribed to Pandora. I tested out music channels from classical to heavy metal, and even the latest album by a guy I went to high school with.

And wrote… you guessed it… nothing.

If you’ve got a history of nothing, nothing, and more nothing, check out this free plot worksheet to help you break writer’s block and get that pen moving!

So here’s my heartfelt advice from the other side of writing 3 children’s books, editing 75 fiction and non-fiction titles, and publishing 133 books for more than 100 authors:

Just write.

Write with passion.

Write with willful abandon.

And write every moment you can steal for yourself.

The quickest way to score that authorial bliss you saw in the picture is to put 500+ words down, over and over again, until you can’t imagine going a week or a month without writing.

Don’t let yourself get weighed down by spelling, grammar, and the dreaded perfectionism. At a certain point, all the finer conventions of writing craft will need to be visited, but with your first book, it’s so much more important to write your way to the end of a finished draft.

You can do it in a 99¢ spiral-bound notebook with a pen you “borrowed” from the bank. It doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to be “right.” You’ll learn more about your story (and more about yourself) when you fall in love with the moments you spend immersed in words.

Super stuck?  Click here to get my free Plot Worksheet so you can jot down ideas from anywhere in your story to get you back on track!

PLot line


Still worried? Or have your finished draft and don’t know what to do next? Contact demi@yotbpress.com to set up a complimentary consultation to move your writing project from dream to done.