One of the most frequent questions I get in interviews is: what piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors? The answer never changes. I always say, don't give up. Write, write, write and never give up. For everyone who thought this was an overnight thing for me, I've been writing since I was nine years old. I wrote throughout high school and the first round of college. I wrote everything from my own ideas to fan fiction and kept right on going.
I wrote my first, saleable novel, however in my twenties and even then, I wasn't ready for it, but I never stopped writing. From 2000 to 2009, I wrote at least a few thousand words a month and kept trying, but could never quite break into publishing. 2009 changed a lot of that for me and after I sold that first book, you know what I did?
Yup, I kept on writing.
But How Do You Write a Book? What's Your Process?
This is the second most commonly asked question. My process is to put my butt in the chair and start writing. I set goals. I meet those goals. Writing is very much like an exercise program--it all sounds good in theory, but it takes regular practice, regular writing, to build up those muscles. Writing a book is also a marathon and not a sprint. You can sprint while you write, but you can't sprint all the way to the end. I've written 47,000 words in two days before. I do not recommend it.
As often as I write, I still managed to strain something in my brain. So if you're just starting out, commit to five hundred words a day for a week. When that gets easy, make it a thousand. When that's easy, two thousand. And that's how you write a book.
What about Research? What about Edits?
As Nora Roberts says, you can't edit a blank page so refer to answer numbers one and two.As for research, I try to look up anything I don't know or need to know before I start writing--however, if I come across something I'm not certain about while I'm writing, I make a note in the text and then I keep writing. I don't stop. When I'm done, I can "fact" check and get back to it. If I think it's majorly important, I can check my facts after the day's writing session.
So if you want to write a book, put your butt in the chair and keep going. It's not glamorous, it's not flashy, but it's effective.