6 Things to Prepare Before You Start to Write

cat+keyboardHave you ever had your life changed in some way by reading a book?

Here’s some great information for people who have considered writing their own book – and maybe influencing someone else’s life.


If you are planning to write a book, here are:

6 Things to Prepare Before You Start to Write

1. Prepare your surroundings

A lot of people sit in a big mess in their studies, or they sit in the lounge room with their laptop on their lap and think,

“Oh, I’ll just write a book.”

One of the things that helps your mind to concentrate is to have a special place, where you go to write your book. It could be your study – but some people like to write on the beach, or at a café, or on the train. I’m not saying that it has to be a certain type of environment with certain objects around you, just the sort of surroundings where you find it conducive to write your book.

I like to take my laptop onto my balcony where I can hear the sea and I like to write my novels there.

If I’m writing a business book, I like to have my laptop in my study, because with business things around me, I feel it’s the place to do business.

So different people prefer different places. So find the best place for you.

2. Prepare your software

The second thing you have to prepare is your software. A lot of people use Word and there is nothing wrong with using Word

I use a piece of software called Scrivener. They don’t pay me to say this. I have no affiliate connections with Scrivener whatsoever. But Scrivener, I find, is a really good system. It’s a system where you put all your research into the same program and it’s available anytime you want it. You can locate and access any piece of research that you’ve put into the file for the particular book that you’re writing. I find it extraordinarily useful especially since I’m at different stages of writing several  books at the moment! Not all of them are mine! I’m ghostwriting a couple of books for other people, and as they send me research or as I do the research, I just put it into that Scrivener file and I can access it at any time.

But Word is also fine. As long as you get it ready and you put your files where they’re ready to use.

3. Prepare your time

The third thing you have to prepare is your time.

Some people ask whether you have to write at a certain time each day. The answer is no. You have to write at whatever time suits you. Each writer, however, finds that certain times of the day are best for them.

Some people are early morning writers. They like to write before their children get up. Some people want to write late at night. To be honest, I’m a bit too tired to write late at night but that suits some people.

I’ve friends who say,

“I like to write after everyone has gone to bed,” and that’s great for them.

Some people like to write at different times on different days. You have to work out what’s the best time for you.

The best way to do that is trial and error. Try writing in the morning. On the next day, try writing at lunchtime. Then have a go in the evening, see how you feel. See when you are most creative.

What I will say is that you should set aside time every day to write.

I don’t suggest it needs to be very long. Half an hour, an hour, that’s a very affordable sort of time but you have to set it aside. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself putting off your writing. Everything else will seem to come ahead of writing. In the end you’ll find that washing-up or cleaning the room comes ahead of writing. But if it’s timetabled there in your diary, you think,

“No, it’s writing time now,” and that makes it important.

4. Prepare your attitude

The next thing to prepare is your attitude. You’ve got to know why you are writing.

Why do you want to write that book?

If you’re not ready to write it, it becomes a chore. Instead of being a joy – and writing really can be such a joy – it becomes a chore.

If you know you have a message which you have to get out to the world, and this is how you’re going to do it, and you think about that before you sit down to write – every time you write  – then your attitude is the right attitude for writing.

 5. Prepare your family

You must prepare your family.

When I first started writing, my children were pre-teen or teenagers. I’m talking about serious writing here, not a poem here or a short story there, which I used to slip in whenever I could. But when I first started to write seriously, I had to tell my children and my husband what I needed,

“Just give me an hour a day because I want to take this writing seriously!”

My youngest son wasn’t even a teenager, he was about ten, and he said, “But mum, what if we want to have tea?”

“Well,” I said, “you can either have tea before my writing time, or after my writing time. But during that hour, I don’t want you to walk into my room unless you cut your hand off!”

So he smiled and said, “I want to eat my tea during that hour.”

“Then you can have whatever you like,” I answered, “because you’ll be making it yourself!”

I had to prepare my family – and I needed my husband’s support because he was the one who had to keep those children out of my room. Whatever it takes in your family, you’ve got to do it.

Sometimes it means that the rest of the time, you’ve got to pay them more attention – because you know what? They’re along for the ride with you and they didn’t opt in. You made the decision and they’re going to have to go along with you.

So whatever it takes to prepare your family, you do it.

6. Prepare your ideas

The next thing that you have to prepare is your ideas. You have to get all of your ideas together about what you’re going to put in that book.  That’s where research comes in.

There are many ways to research – and it’s really a topic of its own, which I will look at in a later post.

 What other things do you think people should prepare in their lives before they start to write?


Posted in workshops, writing

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