Writing a book is such a big project that many aspiring authors have no idea where to start. If you’ve been thinking about writing a book, you can use the following three steps to turn your thoughts into action! Step One: Define Your Topic, Audience, and Competition When writing a book, it helps to have a clear idea of what you want to cover and who you want to reach. It also helps to know your competition—what books have already been written on the same topic and how yours will be different (and better). So first, consider your book’s topic. What is your book really about? How will your book benefit your readers? What problems will it solve? Really take the time to scrutinize your topic and the strategies you plan to outline. Next, ask yourself two questions: 1. Who needs and/or wants the information in this book? 2. Do these people buy books? Think about your book like a business. In any business venture, you need to know who you’re serving and whether or not the market is big enough for your book to sell successfully. Finally, compare your book to what’s already been written and published on the topic. To find out what books yours will be competing with, go to Amazon.com and search your book topic. What titles come up? Have your read these books? What will make your book different? How is your book better? What gives your book an edge over the others? Step Two: Make a List Once you’ve narrowed down your topic, defined your audience and their needs, and considered your book’s competition you can start planning what you will include in your book and how it will be organized. Start by listing everything you want to include based on the information you gathered in step one. If you’re writing a how-to book, then make a list of topics, examples, anecdotes, and strategies you plan to include. And if you’re writing a memoir or other narrative work, list the scenes you want to use to tell your story. Let your mind go on this, and brainstorm as many ideas as you can. You may not keep them all, but for now you need to get the material out of your head. Keep in mind that, at this point, you aren’t making any final decisions. Remain flexible and open-minded; you will probably change things around once you actually start writing and researching. But making this list will help you get organized and give your writing some direction. Step Three: Start Writing You knew this step was coming! The only way to write a book is to sit down and start writing. Dedicate a specific, regular time to write every day. And if you can’t write every day, then make sure you write on most days. Having your list will be handy on days when you don’t feel inspired. You can just look at it, pick a topic or scene that gets you going, and then stick with it until you’re done. Write as much as you can as often as you can, and work through your list until you’ve covered everything you want to write about in your book. Then before you know it, you’ll have a draft finished! Writing Your Book There’s no reason aspiring authors should stall writing their book before they even start. If you have a story inside you that you want to get out, use these three steps to get your writing started. You’ll be an author before you know it!