As someone who’s written two stories for a Wattpad series- one that’s uploaded, and another that’s in the process of being edited- as well as a manuscript that’s currently in the works, I know a thing or two about the actual writing and editing process. I’m by no means an expert on how to write a book, but I do know this- there are several hard truths that come with it.
If you’re thinking about writing a book- be it a work of fiction or nonfiction- then this may prepare you for just how difficult it is. This isn’t intended to scare you off- rather, it’s to help you realize that writing a book isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. So, here it is- just three of many hard truths that come with writing a book.
1. Outlining is a necessity
If you think writing a book is something you can just start on a whim, think again! An outline is the only way you can ensure that there are no plot holes, inconsistencies or huge mistakes made in your story. I know it’s not fun, but it helps you see your plot and subplots through. You’ll know exactly what happens next, which will make you feel more prepared as you continue writing the story.
What outline method should you use? Simple- whatever one you find works for you. I plan to do a more detailed blog post on my outlining process, but I will say now that it consists of spreading out cue cards all over my bedroom floor. If that doesn’t work for you for one reason or another, research other outlining methods. Eventually, you’ll find the one that works best for you.
2. You will need a professional editor
I don’t care how much of a grammar/spelling freak you think you are; you will NEED a professional editor when you’re finished writing the book. Yes, you should absolutely self-edit it a couple of times first. That will help get rid of some mistakes. But it’s certainly not going to get rid of all of them. When you stare at your own words repeatedly, you’re going to miss several mistakes. I’m an editor, and even I miss mistakes time and time again! No one’s immune.
A professional editor will provide your book with something that it hasn’t received up until this point- a fresh set of eyes. They’ll notice mistakes with your writing and your story that you will have missed time and time again. Yes, it will hurt to see your manuscript covered in red ink after the professional edit. But if you want a polished and pretty manuscript (and let’s be honest here- of course you want that), spend the money on hiring a professional editor. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Writing a book is fucking HARD
It’s hard, okay? Writing a book is hard. You have to research a lot of shit about things you have no idea about- and some of those things aren’t exactly safe for work (or life). Some of the things I’ve had to Google has left me worried that the RCMP will come banging on my door, thinking that I’m a serial killer. Then there’s the outlining process, which I’ve already explained enough to give you a clue as to why it’s stressful.
But then there’s the writing process itself. Yes, it’s fun- that’s why we’re writers in the first place. Yet it can feel like you’re on the world’s worst roller coaster. One day your book looks amazing; the next day, it looks like it belongs in the trash. You may write thousands of words one moment, and then struggle to get even five words out of you later that day. All you can do is buckle down and write your ass off anyways- you can always hit delete later. Writing something is better than nothing!
As I mentioned before, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows writing a book. It’s hard- and if you’ve written one before, then you already know just how hard it is. But it’s also super rewarding to see your hard work in written form. When you finish writing a book, allow yourself to celebrate. It’s not the end- it’s just another step completed in your journey to being an authour.