Book Writing Strategies: 7 Effective Approaches for Authors

Posted on Feb 10, 2023

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Written by Sarah Rexford

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The book writing strategies you use to write your book largely depend on two aspects: your natural inclinations as a writer and your writing goals. Each writer’s strategy differs in how they get those words down, and this article presents you with seven different strategies. 

Writers love asking other writers how they write, where they write, and when they write.

This article takes you through the best book writing strategies to align with your writing goals: 

Before diving in, it’s crucial to remember that every writer works differently. Whereas Stephen King is known to set the goal of writing 2,000 words in one day, Ernest Hemingway was known for writing only 500 words daily. 

Both these writers are successful in their own right, so remember that whatever works best for you is the strategy you should go with. 

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1 – Write A Daily Word Count

Whether you choose to publish traditionally and a publisher sets a deadline for you, or you choose to head up your own marketing and self-publish, it’s important to work toward a set deadline. 

A book writing deadline helps keep you on pace and makes sure you get in the chair every day. Over time, that slow growth yields tremendous progress. Once you set a deadline, you can add up the writing days from now until your due date, and divide the number of words your book must be by the number of days you have to accomplish it. This creates your daily word count goal. 

Focusing on a specific number of words per day helps in a variety of ways:

  • Makes your overall writing goal feel smaller 
  • Gives you small pieces to work on daily
  • Allows you to spend time on every detail
  • Builds a habit of writing regularly 

If you feel overwhelmed one day, remember that all you have to do is complete your daily goal, not your book in its entirety. 

2 – Finish Your Writing In The Middle Of A Scene 

A writing tip I’ve picked up on over the years of book writing is how helpful it is to finish your writing day without finishing a sentence. Yes, let me say that again: Finish your daily writing without finishing a sentence. 

While I forget the specific author I first heard this tip from, it’s a handy one to keep in mind. This ensures that every morning (or night, I’m talking to you night owls!) when you sit down to write, you know exactly how to start. 

Rather than finish your sentence, paragraph, chapter, and call it a day, refuse this urge. When you leave your characters in the middle of a sentence, you create your own launching pad for the following day. This ensures you know exactly where to start and can begin writing with ease.

3 – Workout And Write Sweaty

A New York Times bestselling author once encouraged me to workout and, prior to showering, sit down to write. This writing strategy is up for debate, but I encourage you to try it for at least a week. 

Working out prior to writing helps get your blood flowing, relieves stress, and provides you with those mood-changing endorphins. If you struggle to sit in the chair long enough to hit your daily goals, or hitting your goal feels stress-inducing, try this strategy. 

You don’t need to go hard to reap some benefits. Go for a short run, spend thirty minutes in the gym, or even go for a brisk walk. The important point is to get moving and free up your headspace so that when you sit down to write, you’re in the best mental state possible. 

4 – Accept That Writer’s Block Does Not Exist 

Speaking of mental states, have you ever felt like you just don’t know what to write? You stare at that blank page on your computer and words elude you. You go make another cup of coffee or tea and sit down to start book writing again, but to no avail. 

Another New York Times bestselling author once said that if you can’t call into work and say you have worker’s block, you shouldn’t be able to use the excuse of writer’s block. Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to write, but get those words down and always remember, you can edit the next day. 

5 – Edit, Then Write: Jerry B. Jenkins

My favorite writing strategy, and one I use whenever I’m writing on deadline, I learned from bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins. He has sold over 73 million copies of his books, so he’s definitely an author to listen to.

He teaches the following:

  • Day one: Write your daily word count 
  • Day two: Edit day one’s words, then write today’s word count 
  • Repeat 

This ensures that by the time you finish your first draft you have already edited through every single word once. When you go through for an official edit, your work will be that much easier for you. 

6 – Less Is More

Remember reading the classics in high school? The sentences were so long that at times they were difficult to read aloud. They were so packed full of adjectives and adverbs it made it difficult to visualize the story world.

Today’s readers are accustomed to fast-paced TV shows and action-packed movies. To hook your reader and keep them turning those pages, remember that less is more when it comes to description. 

Instead of describing every facet of a character, find one or two strong words to describe them. Leave the rest to the imagination of the reader. 

7 – Create An Active Tone

From Katniss Everdeen volunteering to take her little sister’s place, to Sherlock Holmes always being at least one step ahead of everyone else, active protagonists drive great stories. Be sure to create an active tone in your story through your characters as well as your writing style. 

For example, be sure to use active voice. Instead of: She was handed the cup of coffee by the barista. 

Use: She took the cup of coffee from the barista. 

When it comes to active protagonists, make sure your lead character is driving the action rather than simply responding to it. 

For example: The barista spilled the cup of coffee all over her. “Can I get you some napkins?” he said. 

Use: The barista spilled the cup of coffee all over her. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll go get some napkins,” she said.

This is a simple example, but as a rule of thumb, it’s vital to make your protagonist proactive rather than reactive, regardless of the situation they are in. 

Book Writing Strategies Takeaway

As you read through the above book writing strategies, which ones stood out to you? Is there one you tried before, or a few new ones you want to try? It may take some time to implement your best book writing strategies and make them habitual, but with commitment, you can succeed. Let us know which strategy is your favorite in the comments!

Your next step

Now that you learned 7 book writing strategies, it’s time to put them into practice!

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