How Do You Write a Book? Motivation and a Plan

“Do we have to go to Europe this summer?” a kid asks his mother.

“Shut up and keep swimming!” she replies.

This was a story my dad liked to tell, and it’s always seemed to me to describe perfectly the experience of trying to figure out how to write a novel while you are in the process of actually writing one.

While I was writing my first novel (Shy Girl, FSG and Seal Press), I knew it was my “learning how to write a novel” novel. I figured after I’d written a publishable novel, I’d be set. Problem is, each book is original, replete with its own original problems, its own original learning curve.

Meanwhile, I took a long detour trying to turn myself into a different kind of writer: one who didn’t do so much planning and outlining, for example.

I’ve noticed that creative people put a LOT of energy into re-inventing ourselves. Imagine if, instead, we accepted ourselves and learned to be high functioning, productive writers just the way we are? I learned how to do this the hard way. But I’m willing to save you years of struggle and a heck of a lot of recycled pages.

Check out my free, 12-minute instructional video, Motivation and a Plan, The Best Way to Write and Complete Your Book.

Oh, and I’m offering free coaching to some of the people who leave comments at the site. Let’s set you up for writing success.

Oh, and tell your friends who are writing books . . . or wishing they were!

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  1. Elizabeth – I am interested in hearing more about your client coaching calls. My current goal is to write my way into a top law school. At this juncture, I am in a quagmire, not sure where to begin with my personal statement.

    I am not presently writing a novel, but would appreciate any ideas and/or words of wisdom.

    Kind regards,

    • Dear Deanna,

      Right now, I am doing all my coaching through the Book Writing World — — and offer some free videos about writing at as well. Believe it or not, I think the Kate Moses video might offer you some inspiration about your personal statement–starting with brainstorming, getting down everything that might maybe be relevant. Good luck!!

  2. Dear Elizabeth – Thank you for your reply. I apologize for the tardy response but I have been ill for the past two years. It is an undiagnosed condition. As much as I would like to attend law school, it does not seem to be in the cards for now. Although my last scores were in the 99th percentile, I get deathly sick every time I prepare to take the LSAT.

    The Universe seems to be telling me to write a book – “Fight Bad Karma With Your Dharma”. ~Something like that. Hence, I would like to speak with you. I will get in touch with you next week. Please feel free to contact me regarding your program, (713) 550-7467.

    Kindest regards,

    Deanna M. Essmyer


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