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5 Questions To Ask Yourself before writing your book

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On average it can take authors anything between six months and a year to write a book, and if you're a first-time writer, it will often take a lot longer. Writing a book can be incredibly rewarding and exciting but it can also be challenging and frustrating, and as a result needs time and commitment. A recent study showed that just 3% of people who start writing a book actually finish. That means 97% had an idea, started writing, but gave up somewhere along the way.

So if you hope to write a book one day, here are five questions to ask yourself before you begin to help you be part of the 3%.

1. Why do I want to write a book?

It might seem like an obvious question, but it's worth digging a little deeper into your reasons why. When I first started working in a publishing house years ago, I saw how revered authors were and I'll be honest with you, back then, I wanted to write a book to have that same level of prestige and recognition! But it was only a lot later in 2016, when I started writing my first novel, The Good Mother, which won the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Prize, that I started to understand my motivation a little bit more. I was looking after a toddler and pregnant at the time and I quickly realised that I was writing to help me process the emotions of becoming a new mother.

For you it could be about being creative, to leave a written legacy, or to earn money. Whatever your reason, make sure you identify it before you start as this will keep you motivated and on track during the challenging times.

2. How much time do I have?

Whether we have day jobs and / or families to look after, life is busier than ever before and we're expected to be connected 24/7. There are also certain phases in our lives that can also add extra pressure such as a career promotion, a house move, or a new baby. Before committing to writing your book, take a good look at your schedule - do you currently have a daily or weekly amount of free time? If so, do you feel creative and energised at that time? If your schedule is currently overflowing, you may have to either put your book on hold or eliminate something from your diary to make room to write. Who needs to binge-watch Netflix anyway? That being said you might be surprised at just how much you can do in as little as thirty minutes a few times a week.

3. Do I have a space in my home conducive to writing?

Distraction is one of the biggest threats when working on a book, whether that's scrolling social media, your children demanding a snack, or dirty dishes in the sink. One way to overcome this is to create a writing space that has an element of privacy. It doesn't need to be a complete home office - the cupboard under the stairs will work just as well, as long as it's somewhat private and quiet with space for a comfortable chair and a desk. And if all else fails, invest in a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones.

4. What will be the impact of writing a book on my family?

As a mother to two young children, this is something I battle with internally on a regular basis. I now have a writing schedule which is centred around when they're in school. However, sometimes during the school holidays I may still need to write and it can be difficult for them to understand that I'm working even though I'm at home. My husband has got used to me immersing myself in alternative worlds though and is very supportive. So before you begin, make sure you communicate with your family and loved ones about your book and what impact, if any, it will have on them.

5. What are my hopes for this book?

Do you dream of seeing it in bookshops and libraries across the world or is it more of a personal endeavour to share with close family and friends? How would you feel if you couldn't get your book published? How would you feel if you could? Who would you call? What impact do you hope your book will have on people? How do you want them to feel after reading it? Whatever you dream of, hold onto it and keep it at the forefront of your mind - it's going to be an exhilarating ride!


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I'm Karen, a best-selling novelist who left her corporate life to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Since then, I've written everything from travel articles to web copy before winning a novel writing competition which led to a 3-book deal. 


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