I want to write a book – but where do I start?

Have you always dreamt of being an author and writing a book, but that’s as far as the dream has gone? Probably you don’t know what to write about or why anyone else would be interested in reading it, and that’s stopped your ambition in its tracks before you’ve even put pen to paper. Sounds familiar? If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I want to write a book – but where do I start?” you are not alone!

We all have hobbies and skills, and go through many of the same life experiences, and while those are shared experiences on one level, they are also unique to us, because we approach them with our own unique opinions and perspective. And as humans, we are all naturally curious to find out what other people think of our favourite hobby, or how others went through a challenging experience, because we can learn from that, and – let’s face it – we are all nosey! What this means is that you have a whole host of topics you can write about – though you may not realise it yet.

I want to write a book but don't know where to start

How to choose a topic to write a book about

I have a secret formula to help you choose a topic to write a book about. Want to know what it is? Here goes…

The key to writing a book is to choose a topic that:

  • You are passionate about (or at least have a strong interest in)
  • You already know something about
  • Other people will be interested in

Why are those such crucial factors?

Write a book about your interests

Writing a book can be challenging and takes time, and if you choose a subject you’re not interested in, it’s going to feel like a real chore and the chances are you won’t ever finish the book. The more interested you are in the topic, the more motivated you will be to make a start, keep writing and see the project through to the end. You’ll also find that not only will you enjoy the writing process more, but your writing will be far more enjoyable to read if you are passionate about your subject; write about something that bores you and it will be blatantly obvious to the reader!

Write what you know

Likewise with topics you don’t know a lot about. Whatever you write a book about, you’re bound to have to do some research along the way, but if you really don’t know anything about your chosen topic and are starting from scratch then it’s going to be very difficult to plan the content, never mind find a flow to your writing. For example, if you’ve been knitting all your life, have recovered from cancer or set up an accountancy business, you will already have a lot of knowledge accumulated along the way. Yes, you’ll probably have to check some things, but you’ve got a good baseline to start from. On the other hand, if you’ve never experienced these things, the amount of research you’ll need to do to even come up with a plan will feel like a struggle and you may not be motivated enough to finish. I’m not saying you should never research a topic from scratch, but for your first book, it’s much easier to write about something you know about.

Write about something other people are interested in

The third factor is actually not one you need to worry about. Whatever your topic, however niche, there will always be someone out there who is interested. In fact, you may find that your book is more successful the more obscure or specific the topic. While specialist books won’t find as big an audience as more general works, they will usually find a more passionate audience, who are keen to buy anything they can get their hands on, and it’s definitely easier to stand out with a niche subject!

If you would like some more help with finding a topic and writing a book, put your details in the box below and download my free workbook, which will take you through a number of exercises to set you on the right tracks. You’ll also be able to book a call with me where we can talk through the first steps to you becoming an author!

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