How to Write a Book: The Guide You Absolutely Didn’t Ask For But Desperately Need

How to Write a Book

So you want to write a book. Join the club, buddy. It’s called “Everyone and Their Dog Wants to Be an Author but They Think It’s as Easy as Making Instant Noodles.” But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. This guide will make you a bestseller — or at least get you through the first sentence. Baby steps, okay?

Step 1: Choose a Title or a Topic

Obviously, you can’t write a book without a title or a topic. So, go ahead and pick something that sounds so sophisticated it’ll put a monocle to shame. Your title should be something like “The Quantum Conundrum of Time-Space Relativity in the Context of Pseudo-Nihilism.” No one will understand it, including you, but hey, it sounds intellectual. And if that’s too ambitious, “My Life: An Unopened Can of Worms” works too. We’re not picky.

Step 2: The Location, Location, Location!

Where you write is crucial. So, find a place where you won’t be distracted. A sound-proof vault in your basement might work, but you also don’t want to freak out your family. They’ll start to wonder if you’re cooking meth instead of cooking up plotlines.

But who am I kidding? You’ll write where every great American novel has been written: at a Starbucks, sipping an overpriced latte, so everyone knows you’re a ‘serious’ writer. Place your laptop so the glowing Apple logo faces the maximum number of people. Visibility is key. Heck, take a selfie while you’re at it — #AmWriting #SufferingForMyArt.

Step 3: Procrastinate

Once you’ve got the title and found your coffee mecca, procrastinate. This is a time-honored tradition in the world of writing. And no, don’t procrastinate by doing something useful like research. That’s amateur hour. Instead, take up knitting, learn to cook Beef Bourguignon, or perhaps, re-watch all seasons of “Friends.” Important note: Every time you laugh, reassure yourself that your book will be just as entertaining.

Step 4: Get a Writing Ritual

Most famous authors have a writing ritual. Hemingway wrote while standing. J.K. Rowling jotted down the idea for ‘Harry Potter’ on a napkin on a train. Stephen King…actually, let’s not go into the potentially weird stuff Stephen King might do. Your ritual should be something that signals your brain it’s time to write. Mine involves lighting a candle, sacrificing a small chocolate to the writing gods, and doing the Macarena. Don’t judge; it gets the words flowing.

Step 5: Open a Word Document (or 20)

Ah, the blank canvas. There’s nothing more terrifying and yet filled with possibilities. To counter this, open several Word documents. Label them things like ‘Chapter 1,’ ‘Chapter 2,’ ‘Character Ideas,’ ‘Nonsensical Ramblings,’ and ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’ Even if you write a sentence in each, that’s progress, right?

Always remember, the key to writing is actually writing. It’s not in the fancy titles, the perfect latte, or even in the ritualistic dance moves. It’s in putting pen to paper — or, you know, fingers to keyboard — and making the magic happen. So, what are you waiting for? Get writing! Or procrastinating. Whatever works for you.

Step 6: The Dreaded Outline

Now let’s talk about the outline, the skeleton of your would-be masterpiece. Some people swear by it, while others would rather swear at it. But let’s be honest, plotting out your story in advance takes all the fun out of those unexpected midnight epiphanies that lead you to change the entire plot. So, feel free to scribble some half-baked bullet points on a sticky note and slap it onto your computer screen. There, you outlined. Gold star!

Step 7: The “First” First Draft

You might think the first draft is about crafting a polished narrative that has readers clinging to every word. Hahaha, no. The first draft is a hot mess, a playground for your thoughts. Think of it as abstract art: just throw the words at the page like you’re flicking paint on a canvas. Nobody has to know that your first sentence started as “It was a dark and not particularly stormy but still rather inconvenient night.”

Step 8: Social Media Announcements

Now that you’ve got maybe a paragraph or two, it’s time to tell the world you’re a writer. Because, if you don’t post it on social media, did it even happen? Tweet mysterious lines from your work in progress. Instagram your cluttered writing space. Pinterest mood boards? Oh, you betcha. And don’t forget LinkedIn. Who knows, you might land a publishing deal through a third-degree connection who knows a guy who knows a guy.

Step 9: Writer’s Block as an Art Form

Ah, yes, writer’s block. It’s like the universe’s way of telling you that your ideas are as stale as last week’s bread. Now, people will tell you to overcome writer’s block by “just writing.” These people are masochists. Embrace your writer’s block. Cultivate it into a rich tapestry of excuses. When someone asks how your book is going, give them a tortured look and say, “I’m blocked.” They’ll immediately think you’re deep and complicated.

Step 10: Edit, But Not Really

Editing is the spinach of the writing world — no one really wants to deal with it, but you’re told it’s good for you. The reality? Your first edit will involve you reading your text and thinking, “Shakespeare who? This is a work of genius!” Resist this urge. Actually change some things. Move a comma, delete an adverb, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, kill off a character.

Step 11: Invite Friends and Family to “Enjoy” It

Once you have something that vaguely resembles a book, share it with your friends and family. They’ll either be brutally honest or unconditionally supportive, and either way, you won’t believe them. Take their feedback and nod wisely, and then go back to your corner and either howl at the moon or congratulate yourself on your uncelebrated genius.

Step 12: Consider Publishing, then Panic

So you think you’re ready to publish? Ha! Cue existential crisis. Traditional or self-publishing? Do you have a platform? A marketing strategy? Is your work even good enough? Breathe. Maybe go back to Step 3 for a bit.

And there you have it. Your not-so-serious guide to writing a book, filled with nuggets of real wisdom buried under a mound of sarcasm. Writing a book is an exhilarating, terrifying, and always surprising adventure. Don’t let the cynicism fool you; there’s nothing quite like creating a world from scratch. So grab that pen, or keyboard, and let’s get to work, shall we?