How to write a good book – 4 Steps

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My latest book.

Note:  This article is a bit of a milestone celebration – finishing my latest book, Perception is Reality: And other things I learned at Air Force Officer Training School.  As such, I’m having some fun writing about the process, talking about how it’s easy.  But, it’s been a long slog … it’s taken me over a year to write.  It took so long – not because it was difficult – but because I dragged it out.  I suffered from a stubborn case of procrastination.  I’m over it now and already setting the foundation for my next book.  This article is really a “note to self” so, whenever I find myself bogged down while working on my next book, I’ll refer back here for motivation!

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Writing a book is easy.  I’ve written three and therefore – by definition – it’s easy.  If I can do it, anyone can.  Yes, it does take some “stick-to-in-ness” but there’s nothing difficult about it.  After all, a book is just telling a story except instead of speaking you write it down.

Now I can almost hear you objecting, “Yeah, what about writing a good book?  Anyone can write a book, but it takes talent and hard work to write a good book?”

Well, I have to counter by asking, “What’s your definition of a good book?”

Here’s my definition … it’s a good book if you – the author – like it!  Therefore, you can write a good book.  The only requirement is you gotta like it.  If you like it … it’s a good book.  Keep in mind, many famous, classic and popular books were first rejected by the so-called “experts.”  Don’t let the naysayers throw you off.  You’re the boss, you’re the judge, you’re in charge.  If you like it – dog gone it – it’s good!

So, with this definition, I can confidently say that I’ve written three good books.  And, I can also confidently say – it was easy.

Here are 4 steps to writing a good book.

  1.  Look back on your life and remember a story, incident, or event worth telling.  Pick one.  This is your subject.
  2. Make a list of all the parts you want to include.  These parts make up your chapters.
  3. Start writing like crazy.  Whatever comes to your mind.  Forget spelling, punctuation, grammar  – totally block out your grade school English teacher – and keep writing.  Go wild, tell it the way you want to tell it, don’t hold back.  This is the “throw mud on the wall” phase.  Keep it fun.  Write because you want to write, not because you have to write.
  4. Edit.  Go over your story from start to finish.  This is where you’ll be surprised.  You’ll discover your writing is not as terrible as you thought.  You’ll find yourself saying, “Hey, that’s not bad, not nearly as bad as I thought it was, some of this stuff is pretty good … let’s get this thing polished up!”  Go forth and polish it up.  Stay at this step until you make the transition … from “This is crap” to “I like it.”  When you finally break through and declare, “I like it!” you’re done.

That’s it.  You’ll have written a good book.

Of course, then you’ll want to publish it and get it out there for everyone to enjoy.  Here’s some more good news, publishing your book is easy too!  But, that’s another story …

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