I Want to Write a Book, Where Do I Start? 12 Steps for Success

Audrey Hirschberger
December 05, 2023 | 7 mins

If you’ve just decided to write a book, the process can seem overwhelming. You may be thinking: “I want to write a book, where do I start?”

You're not alone. Many writers have been in your shoes, not sure where to start when they want to write a book. 

But if you want to write a book, you’ve come to the right place. Today I’m going to teach you some simple steps to learn where to start when you want to write a book, and how to become an author successfully. 

So if you’re thinking: “I want to write a book, where do I start?” This is where! 


Where to start when writing a book: 12 simple steps

Here is where you should start if you want to write a book:

1. Create a dedicated writing space

If you’ve decided: “I want to write a book!” The first thing you need is a place to write. And no, your kitchen table doesn’t count, because you will get tired of clearing it off every day and will lose motivation.

It’s best to create a space that is only used for writing. If you have to, you can buy a small desk for this purpose. 

Make sure your writing space is in a low-traffic area so there will be less noise and distractions. You can also decorate your writing area with things that inspire or motivate you. Or, if you are someone who gets distracted easily, you should clear away all visual distractions. 

2. Gather your writing tools

You have a place to write, but now you need something to write with

If you want to write a book but don’t know where to start, getting book-writing software would be a good place. You will also need a reliable computer/laptop, and a notepad and pens if you prefer physical notetaking.

In addition, you should invest in the best ergonomic office chair you can afford. If you are in pain while you write, the habit will not be sustainable and you will lose motivation. 

3. Pick a genre

If you want to start writing a book, you need to know what you’re going to talk about. Even if you don’t have the precise storyline figured out, you can start by narrowing down a genre or topic. 

You can check out our giant list of book genres for inspiration.

Think about books you love to read. If you get completely lost in a fantasy novel, or enjoy a tear-jerking romance, you should consider writing that type of book yourself! 

Perhaps you would like to write a true story about your life. In that case, you can start learning how to write a memoir

4. Settle on your idea 

Now it’s time to decide precisely what you want to write about. If you’re still very much in the “I want to write a book, where do I start?” mindset, you can use our writing prompt generator to get the wheels turning. 

Make sure your concept hasn’t been written before. It should be a big idea that you get excited to talk about. If you aren’t passionate about it, you won’t feel compelled to finish it. 

5. Define your audience

You need to have a clear understanding of your target audience so you can speak to them when writing your book. You need to adjust the content, tone, and vocabulary to match the age and interests of that audience. 

Don’t just think about this in terms of children, young adults, and adults. Is your audience mostly students? Are they entrepreneurs? Are they in the military? Decide who your audience is and what they want to read – and then start writing it! 

6. Construct an outline 

If you want to write a book, you need to have a clear vision of where your book is going. An outline is the best way to give yourself that clear pathway.

Your outline can be a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, or a general overview of the beginning, conflict, climax, and conclusion. 

You can use our fiction outline template to get started! 


7. Do your research 

No matter what kind of book you are writing, you will probably need to do some research to bring your idea to life. Perhaps you need to dig into a specific setting or time period, or learn more about a group of people.

If it’s a nonfiction book, perhaps you need to dig into the archives, or conduct some interviews. 

Ensure that you have a SOLID understanding of your subject matter before you start writing. Otherwise, the readers will notice! 

8. Eliminate distractions 

If you want to write a book, you should start by minimizing distractions. Distraction is the #1 enemy of writers everywhere. 

Luckily, there are plenty of distraction-free writing apps out there to help you. 

Turn off notifications and let your friends and family know when you will be writing so they don’t interrupt you. If you think you will be distracted by emails or the news, make sure you catch up on everything before you sit down to write so that your book can have your undivided attention. 

9. Create a writing schedule 

You may be wondering, “How long does it take to write a book?” But there isn’t one answer to that question. It really comes down to your personal writing schedule, how much research is involved, how your publishing process works, and how many pages you plan to write.

Some people can write a book in 90 days, while others take years to meticulously craft their novels. It took JK Rowling five years to write the first Harry Potter book, so don't feel discouraged if you don't have a lot of time to write. Just be consistent.

If you want to write a book, the most important thing is simply to WRITE, and to create a habit of writing. Block off time in your schedule each week that you are going to commit to writing. Make this time as non-negotiable as a doctor’s appointment or work meeting. 

Establish realistic writing goals and decide on a daily or weekly word count that you would like to hit. Give yourself some benchmarks to celebrate that will keep you motivated. 

10. Choose how to publish

Finishing your manuscript is only the first step of writing a book. You also need to think about the editing, marketing, and publishing processes. You should decide early on whether you would like to go with self-publishing vs traditional publishing

There are pros and cons to each form of publishing. In general, we recommend self-publishing for first-time authors because it is much easier to get your book published – and you get to keep a much higher percentage of the book royalties

Book Royalties Calculator

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11. Seek support

If you want to write a book and aren’t sure where to start, it’s a good idea to form an online writing community. A writing community can motivate you, keep you accountable, and answer all the questions you have as a budding author. 

You can also look into some writing or self-publishing courses, so you can familiarize yourself with the process and gain the skills and confidence to launch your book successfully. 

YouTube video

You can check out our Self-Publishing School review to see what we think of these sorts of online courses. 

12. Book a call with a coach

If you really want to move forward with publishing your book, but are still feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. You don’t need to get stuck in that, “I want to write a book, where do I start?” mindset. There are whole teams of people out there who can help you create the book of your dreams.

Why not reach out to a writing coach so they can guide you through the process? 

Or, you can book a 15-30 minute discovery call with our team to get a tailored book launch plan to help you hit the bestseller list. 

We can discuss what your idea is, how to plan your writing and publishing in a successful way, and how long it will take you to write your book. Through every step of the process, we’re here to help, so you can confidently share the story in your head with the world. 


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