Starting a Year of Writing | How to Write a Book

This is the first post in my Year of Writing, all bundled up in the idea of One Book One Year.

My name is Tom and this is my answer to how to write a book. In my own way. I have never been published in any kind of book or magazine, except for a few restaurant reviews many many years ago. I have written fiction on and off most of my life, from as early as I can remember. I’m not a great writer, or even a good one. I can’t even tell, because I haven’t finished anything.

Whatever it is; procrastination, perfection and a fear of failure (and success) have held on tightly for all these years and my total creative writing to date is:

  • seven or eight notebooks, half full of half finished ideas.
  • eight completed short stories, ranging from 1,000 words up to 8,000.
  • one of the above short stories was shortlisted to the final 6 for a science fiction magazine competition (from about 200 entries). The story didn’t go any further, but it was an amazing feeling to get my name on the shortlist.
  • six more short stories but not finished, in a perpetual state of editing.
  • an unfinished serialised fantasy novel (about 73,000 words total). I started when I was about 18 and added to on and off over the years. Another 15,000 words or so would finish it, but I never have.
  • about ten or so half-started pages of novels, never getting beyond page four or five.
  • a completed feature length film script, about 90 pages, which was basically my version of Underworld.
  • roughly fifteen short film scripts, some finished, some unfinished.

I think that’s about it. That’s more than I thought it would be.

I’m turning 35 this year and I’m not sure what the change was, but I’m making a commitment to writing a book in a year. The how to write a book question is a tough one, but I think I’ve got some tricks to share. I follow lots of step-by-step approaches in the rest of my life, but have never applied this method to writing. So now is the time.

I’ll be blogging frequently over the next year to draw up accountability for maintaining momentum, motivation and inspiration for this writing challenge. I really hope this blog can be of use to others as I’ll be explaining my way through the whole process of writing a book. The intent is to be as honest and transparent as I can be about the ups and downs, victories and failures.

So, where do you fit in to all of this?

There are other writers out there in the same boat as me, having many many ideas and half-starts. For me, framework and motivation will be hugely important to actually getting the damn book written. I’m going to prove that it can be done. For myself more than anyone, but if you can take inspiration from this and start out on your own One Book One Year, then please do.

The intention is simple. A year from now, 1st February 2018, there will be a freshly printed book in front of me. I don’t know yet what it will be about, or what will happen, but I know it will be there.

So this is Day 1 of 365. Tomorrow I’ll talk about one of my key approaches to making myself committed to this year, The Accountability Packet.

Thanks for reading

– Tom