Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start Writing A Book

By on June 6, 2021

Writing a book is no mean feat, and if you have a book inside you that's dying to be written, it's a good idea to ask yourself a few questions to gain insight into your own motivation and the (often grueling) writing process before you begin. Writer Joseph Epstein wrote that "81 % of Americans feel that they have a book in them." That's approximately 200 million people just in the USA who would like to be writers! Many people feel they have a book to write, yet the proportion of those who go on to start and finish their books is a small fraction of this. 

So if you want to be in the rather elite group of people who do manage to write their books, it's worth asking yourself the following before you begin:

Why am I doing this?

Understanding your motivation for writing a book is very important. You need to be clear on your end goals and then always have them in mind as you write. You might be doing this to be a world-famous writer, or because you will never feel satisfied unless you try, or because it seems like a fun hobby to explore. All reasons are valid, but being able to define them clearly can be helpful.

Is my idea good enough?

Be honest about your book idea, and don't start to write your book until you've unpacked it, probed it, and fleshed it out a little. If you've been struck by inspiration or have had the same idea for years, make sure that you've done some research around it and that you feel confident you can write an entire book with the material before you begin.

Who will want to read this?

Does your book have a ready-made audience? Who are your ideal readers? Where can you find them? Being clear on who will want to read your book and doing some audience research can help ensure you are writing a story that will have readers!

Do I have the time?

Writing a book takes time and commitment, and it's also essential to figure out how you'll find the time to write. Create your writing schedule before you begin, and set yourself small and more significant goals to help keep you motivated along your writing journey. 

Can I handle rejection?

If you intend to publish your book, it's a good idea to consider whether you'll be able to handle rejection. Publishers, agents, reviewers, readers (or the lack of them) can all be harsh and demotivating and pretty tough to handle. Writers need to be prepared for that and be confident they'll be OK with the rejection that, in most cases, is pretty inevitable. 

Who is my support network?

Having a great support network can also help make the writing journey so much easier. Think about who you have to support you, and consider joining writing groups for that additional level of professional support and advice too.

Have I told my family and friends?

Your family and friends can be an invaluable source of support but can also be incredibly obstructive when it comes to book writing if you don't give them fair warning. If you want to give yourself the best chance of success, make sure they understand what you are trying to achieve, how you hope to achieve it, and how important it is to you.

How will I motivate myself?

Writer motivation can be a big problem, so take the time to think about what motivates you, and have some tried and tested methods in place ready to put into action when your motivation wanes.

By asking yourself the above questions, you can help to prepare yourself for the journey ahead. Preparation is critical, and by being realistic and honest with yourself from the outset, you will give yourself the best chance of making it through. 

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