What you Need to Write a Book

Okay, so this is my first post about How To Write A Book.  My first post was going to be what my second post now is.  I was going to skip right into the heart of things, but in trying to write an introduction, I ended up writing a post in and of itself.

Things you need in order to write a book:

An Idea Or Motivation

  • A reason for writing what you’re writing.
  • An idea that has been rattling around your skull, itching at your brain, and floating around your cerebral cortex with a nagging sensation.

The Skills To Back It All Up

  • Things you’ll need: an interest or obsession with writing or language; a long history of reading; know-how (collegiate or online or just from experience); and the willingness to do research.
  • Know the process of writing a book (more than just beginning, middle, end).  Know plot, characterization, threading and weaving of images, tone, message,  audience.
  • Have the commitment to see it through.

Ability to Commit

  • Revising doesn’t mean go through and fix spelling snafus.  It means going through and taking a hard look at how to improve something and make it the very best it can be.
  • It’s going to take a lot of effort and time.  Be prepared for the giant mountain that is Writing A Book.  We’ll call it W.A.B. mountain.


  • In between shifts at your part time job as a carpet-comber, after your kids drift to sleep, when you’re sitting in the backseat of a car, or any free time at all!
  • You don’t need to sit down every day either, but you might want to try to give yourself a schedule.


Things you DON’T need in order to write a book:


  • From anyone or anything.


  • Got a pencil and paper?  Or access to a computer?  You’re good to go.  No monetary investment requiered.

Guaranteed Publication

  • If you’re writing a book, you should be doing it for the right reasons.  Hint: that reason is almost never going to be for money.  It should be because you feel compelled to by the need to disseminate some knowledge, share a story, or illuminate a truth.

A Degree

  • You don’t need a high level of education in order to write a book.  It’s a myth.

To be Young or Old

  • As long as you have a unique experience, idea, or information to share, then you’re set!  Writing isn’t a young person’s game, and it isn’t for the wizened and aged.  It’s for writers.  If you’re a writer, then there’s nothing else you need except something to write with.


Those are the basic DO and DON’T rules for climbing WAB mountain and emerging with your very own manuscript.  The biggest step you have to face is giving yourself permission to start, and then taking that first courageous step.*



*Some people might suggest that starting to write a book should be equated with a water metaphor such as “diving in.”  I prefer sticking with the WAB Mountain analogy, because it’s more accurate.  It’s an uphill struggle, and you don’t so much drown while treading water as you just kind of reach a point where you look around, have a good view of where you’ve come from, yet you can’t quite see how to get to the peak.  See?  Much nicer.  And we can carve a labyrinth into the side of the mountain if we get really lost.  The sad truth of book writing, is that most people have a good solid start, but they get tired, lost, or haven’t really looked ahead too far, and then they just sit down and get stuck–sometimes forever!  Don’t be an unprepared Mountain Hiker!!  Prepare!

One thought on “What you Need to Write a Book

  1. Pingback: Write Your Book Out Loud | words — and other things

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