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How NOT to Write a Book

One of the most common questions that a writer gets asked is, “How do you write a book?” Or better yet, “How do I write a book?” There are hundreds of articles, Twitter threads, etc. on this subject that outline exactly what you need to do in order to finish your book and get it published. (Spoiler: There isn’t only one correct way to go about anything involving writing and publishing. If someone tells you there is, don’t believe them.) I’ve just had my second book, The Good for Nothings, published, and I’m still far from knowing everything there is to know about this industry. I could make you a list of what I think you should do to write the perfect novel, but where’s the fun in that? You’ve probably already read a dozen of those lists. Instead, here are three things you shouldn’t do while writing a book.

This may be the most important:

You shouldn’t think that your writing is terrible.

We’ve all been there. Everyone does it. One evening you churn out several pages worth of work that you think are revolutionary, the best words you’ve ever written, and by the next morning you read over those same pages and they sound like a pile of trash so giant that not even Oscar the Grouch would want to sit in it. Stop doing this. (Easier said than done, I know!) Hating on yourself only slows down your progress.

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You shouldn’t compare your writing journey to another’s.

(Yes, this is also easier said than done!) Everyone knows that social media makes our lives look rosier than they are. And I mean that literally. A lot of people have been using rose gold filters on their Insta stories lately. Anyway, there is no proper way or proper time or proper age to write and publish a book. Don’t worry about what so-and-so is doing over there in their little corner of the internet. You just do you.

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You shouldn’t write a story that you don’t care about.

Some people think that a particular genre or plot will sell better/faster, so they’ll write about that even if they aren’t into the story or the characters. Honestly, even thinking about doing that sounds painful to me. First because if I, the author, don’t care about the story, how can I expect you, the reader, to care either? And second, writing takes so much time. I’m talking multiple drafts, then copyedits, then pass pages. You’re basically dedicating a year or two of your life to reading and rereading this story. And then rereading it again. The least you can do for yourself (and others!) is to make sure it’s something you enjoy. After all, life is too short to not be happy. So write about that love triangle if that’s what you’re into! Stop telling yourself that your writing is lousy! And finally, take a step back from social media every now and then and treat yourself to dessert instead. You deserve it!

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Danielle Banas

Danielle Banas is the author of THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME and THE GOOD FOR NOTHINGS. She earned a degree in …

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