First thing you do is write the words. That's it! That's all it takes to start a book.
If you're going to write your life (autobiography), or a portion of your life (memoirs), or a book of fiction based on your life or someone elses, or a novel from your imagination ... regardless, you must put it on paper. It doesn't write itself out in the blue somewhere. And this you can start doing right away. If you have a story to tell, tell it, write it. (Some do research first, some don't, they fill it in later. Some make outlines first, some don't, they let the characters write the story. Nonfiction needs an outline.)
Once you start writing, write it straight through without editing. Best way is to write it in segments - each segment a story in itself. One of my best-selling mentors sez write five pages at a time without stopping. She writes by hand, pen and paper. Finds that she's more creative that way. Not me. So, whichever way you choose, just write five pages a day ... simple. Some say ten pages a day. But at least set a goal of so many pages a day.
At this point, you needn't be concerned about the spelling, punctuation, and grammar. That will all come later, after you're written the first draft of the manuscript. But do your best as you go along, no need to be sloppy and disjointed. The primary objective is to get your thoughts down on "paper" this go 'round. You can do that without any help from anybody.
Also in your spare time, after you've written your ten pages on a given day, learn about the craft of writing. The magazine "Writers Digest" is one of the best for learning and informing yourself about the technical aspects of writing as well as the business you're entering. Yes, it's a business, whether you like it or not. AND the magazine "The Writer" is also excellent for that purpose. If you buy those two mags a month, and read them from cover to cover, that will be all the homework you need to do right now.
Maeve Binchey writes one chapter a day, by the way. No matter what. A chapter is equivalent to a written scene of a movie to me. So some of my chapters are very short, two to four pages. I can definitely write more than one chapter a day. Christina Dodd writes ten pages a day, which means that in thirty days a first draft could be finished.
Oh, when you write in chapters, you'll want to make sure you have written a complete thought in that chapter, or what I call a mini-story within the overall story. The chapter will have a beginning, middle, and end - just like the entire book. Each chapter will tell a story all of its own. It should end on a high note or shock, a mini-cliff-hanger, that will drive the reader immediately to the next chapter, not wanting to put the book down, which is what you want. So you might want to think in those terms as you write.
Either a certain number of pages, or by chapters.
Again, nothing happens if you just keep the thoughts in your head. You have to let them materialize and write them. And that's how you get started.
So ... write, write, write.
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.