I am knee deep finishing my second book that will be released by Baker Books in September 2013. As I’ve been writing for the last few months, I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learned in the writing process.
1. Writing is harder than speaking. I know this is relative, but as a pastor my preferred communication style is the spoken word rather than the written word. In speaking, repetition is you friend. In writing, repetition comes off as boring and uninspired.
2. Make sure you have enough content to write. Brian Tracy says it takes 1,500 pieces of information to have enough content to write a book. He’s right.
3. Everyone writes differently. Every author I’ve spoken to has a different style and strategy for getting their books written. I’m in the “write for 2-3 hours 3-4 days a week” camp.
4. Write, don’t edit. This is an old adage, but it’s true. Edit while you’re editing. When you’re writing, just let it flow. You can always go back and tweak things later.
5. Goals are key in writing. When I sit down to write, I have a clear goal for what I want to accomplish. It might be, “I am going to write 3,000 words before lunch.” Whatever the goal, I work my hardest to meet that goal.
6. Deadlines make you better. I am writing 2 books faster than I thought I could write 1, simply because I have a deadline. While this is stressful at times, it has forced me to be more focused.
7. “That” has to go. I use the word “that” entirely too much. Donald Miller has a good post about this here.
8. Change locations. I find it easier to write in different locations. The 1st book I wrote for Baker was written in Georgia. The second has been written in a variety of places. I find when I get stuck in a location, my writing gets stuck too.
9. Pace yourself. Books don’t written in a day. I want to make sure I’m writing and making progress, but I want to fulfill my other responsibilities.
10. Be a lover of books. I find the best writers are those who love reading. So make sure you’re reading a lot even while you’re writing.
11. Get outside. You’re a better writer when you’re experiencing life. So meet your goals, but also get out and get involved in the things you’re writing about.
12. Be helpful. The question I ask myself with every paragraph I write is, “Is this helpful?” I don’t want to inform just for the sake of information. I want to inform so people’s lives and churches are better.
13. Write because you have to, not because you need to. Don’t write because you have a deadline. Write because you’re passionate about your subject and zealous for those who will read your book. These are the books that leave impressions on people.
This is just a start. If you’d add something to this list, I’d love to hear it.