The Mompreneur's Guide to Writing Your First Book
Words: Mahlena-Rae Johnson
Want to write your first book? Answer these three questions first.
Do you want to write a book?
Have you already started writing one?
Do you have a burning idea for a book, but don’t know where to start?
As a mompreneur, writing coach, and three-time author who is working on her fourth book (!), I will tell you the secret to writing your first book:
Start writing now.
When I wrote my first three books (two comedic novels and a guide to applying to college, all available on Amazon!), I didn’t have a road map.
There was no blueprint.
Yes, I did have The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter. But it focused mostly on what to do once you have completed the first draft of your book and you’re ready to go to market.
There wasn’t a guide on how to start writing your original story and keep going, even when your role models are few and far between.
If you want to write a book, then write down something—anything—on a page...
Back in 2006, when I started writing my first book Steve the Penguin, Twitter was around, but Black Twitter didn’t exist. There wasn’t a vocal coalition of nerdy Black people dissecting all aspects of pop culture.
I had to write a book that I wanted to read because it didn’t exist yet.
Ten years later, we have The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and How to Be Black and I’m Judging You and You Can’t Touch My Hair—books written by famous blerds about their life experiences.
What does this mean for you?
This means it’s much easier now than it was back in my day, when I had to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways. (Not really: I grew up on the tropical island of St. Thomas.)
Now, it’s much easier because you can see it. Therefore, you can be it.
The hard part is starting.
If you want to write a book, then write down something—anything—on a page to get on the right track.
Here’s your easy guide to writing your first book: Answer these three questions, and write it all down!
Who is your main character?
Write down physical, mental, and emotional descriptions for your protagonist. What is her name, what does she want, where does she come from, and where is she going? Who are the other people she interacts with, and how does she manage these relationships?
Figuring out these details about your main character will help you start building your story.
What is this book about? Write down the plot of the book: What happens in the beginning, middle, and end. It doesn’t need to be lengthy.
Construct a few, simple sentences about the events that you want to write about. Also, what does this story mean to you? Acknowledge, if only to yourself, why you want to write this book.
How can you start writing today? Start by scheduling 10 minutes right now to write. Then, schedule another 10 minutes to write again tomorrow. And keep going.
This is not an overnight process. Blocking out short moments to focus on developing your book will help you stay motivated to keep writing.
By answering these three questions, you will be on your way to writing your first book!
Moms, are you planning to write a book? Have you already written a book? Who will benefit from reading your story? How will your life change once you do write your book? Tell us in the comments. And, if you have more in-depth questions about writing your first book, please email me at WriteYourFirstBookWithMahlena@gmail.com.
Mahlena-Rae Johnson helps creative women (like you!) who dream of being an author someday. Through her signature coaching program, THE FIRST 90 DAYS, Mahlena helps busy women, side hustlers, super bloggers, and working moms start write their first book right now.
When she isn’t helping professional women tell their own stories, Mahlena is writing her fourth book, Love at a Luau, wrangling her growing family, and indulging in reruns of A Different World and Murder, She Wrote. You can read more of Mahlena’s witty musings at Write Your First Book With Mahlena and follow her on Facebook.