Category Archives: Write a book

What’s The Best Software To Write A Book?

What’s The Best Software To Write A Book?

For some reason this question’s been coming up frequently: “what software’s the best to write a book?”

The short answer is: whatever you use for your writing sessions now.

Here’s why. Writing a book is challenging, even for people who’ve been at it for years. Learning new software is stressful.

If you want to write a book, keep to your writing routines

You’ll hit “the wall” as anyone does when they write a book. This book crash usually happens around page 100 or Chapter 3. At this stage, you’re looking for reasons to quit.

The book’s crap and you have many, many excuses for not carrying on. The idea’s lousy, you’re too busy, you’ll write next vacation — and so on and so forth.

You don’t need special software to write a book

I adore Scrivener. I’ve been using it for a decade, ever since the beta version. Much as I love it, for the first couple of years I wrote in MS Word, then dragged the docs into Scrivener. Mostly that was because clients and editors wanted Word docs. But also, it was wanting to get stuff done.

You have a writing routine now, even if you’re a relatively new writer. If you tinker with that routine too much, you’ll procrastinate, or worse, you’ll block. Your productivity will go out the window.

Useful software for writing books

After all these years, Scrivener is part of my book-writing routine. My books and writing courses start and end in Scrivener.

I write shorter material like articles and blog posts in Ulysses. Not only is Ulysses a fun writing tool, it also makes it easy to output docs to HTML, PDF, ePub, and DOCX.

Many authors use the Ulysses app (Mac)
Many authors use the Ulysses app (Mac)

I know several authors who write their books in Google Docs. I couldn’t imagine anything more punishing, but kudos to them.

I’ve also heard good things about:

  • yWriter, which looks Scrivener-like;
  • (free) FocusWriter, a cross-platform app which is minimalist. The bare bones interface is meant to remove distractions;
  • (free) LibreOffice, an MS Office alternative;
  • (free) Sigil, open source, cross-platform, and useful only if you’re a little techy. Outputs ePub documents. Inputs can include HTML, and plain text. Creates elegant ebooks. If you’d like to try it, this is the official website.
Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99
Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters. More info →
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The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99
Do you love your life? If you don't ADORE your life, you can change it — more easily than you can imagine. More info →
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How To Find Motivation To Write A Book: 3 Tips

How To Find Motivation To Write A Book: 3 Tips

“I want to write a book…” I’ve heard those words many times. The writer is motivated, but writing a book takes time, and real life gets in the way, so the motivation doesn’t last.

Suddenly you find that you have no time, because your day job is more demanding. Or something happens at home. You can’t work on your book for a week or two, and gradually you forget all about it. Six months later, you feel guilty because you gave up on your dream.

Change is uncomfortable. Your life changes when you write a book — it starts changing as soon as you start writing.

When you write a book, it takes time and motivation

I discussed how to create a writing habit here. The big benefit of turning writing into a habit is that you no longer need to rely on motivation.

Now let’s look at three tips which will help you to find the motivation to write a book.

1. Give yourself reasons to write: write down the benefits of writing a book

Your motivation is strong when you begin writing. You’re inspired, and words flow. You tell yourself that you can do this, and wonder why you ever imagined that writing was hard. Sooner, rather than later, you hit speed bumps. Then road blocks, and you tell yourself that you will write “tomorrow.”

You can avoid that by creating a list of reasons to write before you start writing.

How will your life change for the better once you’ve published your book?

You list may include benefits like: pride and satisfaction, the money you could make, and the opportunities a published book would bring you.

Writing a list of the benefits is vital. If you try to keep the reasons in your head, you’ll forget them as soon as your dream collides with reality. As we’ve said, your writing brings change. That change affects everything in your life.

Review your list of benefits at least once a week.

2. Drop your expectations: allow yourself to write rubbish

You can’t write a book in a day, or even a week. You have weeks, if not months, of writing ahead. Then, after your first draft is done, you need to do an initial edit of your book yourself, so that you can revise it.

You’ll hire an editor later, but firstly, you need edit it yourself, to make sure that your book achieves what you set out to do. In the heat of creation, all book projects morph.

When writing fiction, you bring in new characters. A main character takes on a life of his own. With nonfiction, you intended writing A, B, and C. After your first draft, you realize that you need to cover D and E as well.

Books are messy.

Important: expect messes while you write.

Please drop your expectations before you start writing. You can fix messes later, but unless you’re a true unicorn author, your writing will never go as expected. Be happy to make messes, and to write “rubbish”. The rubbish helps you to realize what you need to write.

Which brings us to…

3. As long as you’re writing, you’re writing a book correctly

No book you write is the same as another. No matter how many books you’ve written before, each and every book is a new adventure.

Take heart, because as long as you write, and keep going, you’ll finish your book. You’re doing it “right” — all you ned to do is keep writing.

Challenges which seem unsolvable will magically clear themselves up, either tomorrow, or next week, so keep writing. 🙂

Your motivation to write a book develops while you write

I’m usually working on six to eight book projects at any one time; my own, and clients’ projects. Some books are in the outlining stage, others in various drafts, and a couple are in the revision and editing phases.

If nothing else, I know this: motivation happens while you’re writing.

Often, I’ll think about a couple of my projects when I wake up in the morning, and realize that I truly, deeply, do not want to look at them today. I write those projects at their scheduled time anyway, because I know that my motivation will develop while I’m writing.

Yours will too.

Have fun with your books. 🙂

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
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Writing A Book? Create A Writing Habit With These 3 Tips

Writing A Book? Create A Writing Habit With These 3 Tips

In Team Up I’ve been working with a writer who’s started writing a book more times than she can count. She says that she has a dozen false starts on her computer. Those books never went anywhere.

“I start out great,” she said. “Then something comes up. I realize that I need another idea, or that what I have isn’t strong enough. I’ve made up my mind that this time I’m am writing a book — I’m finally finishing a book. No matter what.”

She’s got the right attitude.

However, she needs more than that. She needs to turn writing a book into a habit.

Make writing a book a habit

Writing a book is intimidating, if you allow it to be. Your biggest ally is the disposition we all have to create habits.

Currently I’m reading Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. He reveals that we form habits, both consciously and unconsciously. Those habits, once formed, can be cued at any time; we don’t realize it’s happening. This is great when you form habits for writing a book. Not so great with habits like procrastinating, and eating junk food.

It turns out that creating a habit is easy.

Researchers have discovered how habits work. When a habit is cued, we follow the habit’s routine in expectation of a reward. When rewards occur, over time the cue, routine and reward process becomes a habit fueled by craving. This is an unconscious process.

Writing a book has long been habitual with me. I don’t think about it. Over 30 years, it’s just become a habit. Although I developed the habit unconsciously, I can see that I followed the cue, routine and reward process.

You can do it too. Here’s how.

1. Cue yourself to get words onto your computer screen

Start by lowering your expectations. Your goal isn’t to write a book. It’s to get words onto your computer screen which will, in time, become a book.

You need a cue to sit down at your computer every day. Your cue can be simple. For example, many runners cue their exercise habit by setting out their running shoes beside their bed. When they wake up, they lace on the shoes, and they’re out the door. It’s a habit. The cue enables them to follow their routine for a run. Their reward is runner’s high: the endorphins which their body creates.

What would cue you to sit at your computer each day?

My cue is simple. It’s coffee. I wake up, make coffee, sit down at my computer and start writing. One of my friends has a crossword puzzle cue: he opens his crossword puzzle app, does a crossword, then opens Scrivener and starts writing.

Keep your cue simple.

2. Form a routine: meet a daily word count goal

I love Scrivener for many reasons, especially because it allows you to set word count goals. Let’s say you’re aiming for 60,000 words for a novel. If you wrote 1,000 words a day, you’d complete the novel in two months. Or, if your goal was 500 words a day, in four months.

Set any word count goal you like — just 50 or 100 words, initially.

When you’re cued, sit down at your computer and write those words. You’ll find that if you start at 100 words, on some days you’ll go over that. Extend your daily word count goal only when you’re regularly going over your current goal.

3. Reward yourself every day for following your routine

Completed your routine for the day? Excellent. Reward yourself. Essential: keep your reward simple. Save the champagne for your book’s publication day. Small daily rewards are enough.

For most authors the satisfaction of being done with their word count for the day is sufficient, but you might like to reward yourself with a little treat.

Once you’ve created a habit for writing a book, you’re set

The beauty of habits is that they become unconscious: cue, routine, and reward. Form a habit, and soon you’re writing a book automatically, without any will power at all.

Have fun. 🙂

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular. More info →
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Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.