So You Want to Write a Book?

Most writers want to write a book. This is a huge undertaking. Which means most writers are not ready to write a book.

Writers can ask and answer a series of questions to determine if this is the right time for them to write a book:

Do you have enough knowledge of writing and editing to write a book ?

Are you willing to learn? If so, study published books for their writing craft. Join a writers group for feedback.

Do you have plenty of ideas and information in mind to fill a book? Brainstorm ideas and keep a running list of them.

Do you have the time and energy to devote to writing a book?

An honest “yes” to these questions means the writer is ready.

The next series of questions will help writers zero in on what kind of book to write:

Do you know precisely why you want to write a book?

Do you want to tell a story, to persuade people, to make them laugh, or to get them to take action?

Think about these questions. Answer them as clearly as possible. Then boil down the answers to one short, motivational sentence. Keep that sentence near during writing sessions. It may help prevent procrastination.

Now, plan the book and the writing sessions.

Carve out writing space at home or a coffee shop, any place comfortable enough for long writing sessions.

Create an outline. A brief one will do.

Expand the outline. Turn each sentence in turn into a paragraph, a page, and then several pages. Organize the outline into chapters and subchapters.

Create a writing schedule. Perhaps one chapter per day during the first draft.

After writing the first draft, let the manuscript sit unread for a few days. Then read it “for fun.” After that, read it as a book editor would . Take note of everything in the previous draft that needs improvement. Create a “punchlist” of desired changes.

Rewrite the book. Then edit. Keep cycling through the writing and editing process until no further improvements are possible.

Hire an editor if necessary. Then submit the manuscript to publishing houses or arrange for self-publishing . Success! The book is done.

Originally published at on August 19, 2021.

Michael Wolkind QC is a top London-based defence barrister, dog lover, and writer. Learn more @