How I Write A Book

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This video was originally written as a blog post, but I adapted it for video. I thought it would have a better effect if it showed me in the process of writing a book while talking about it. I had a lot of fun filming in the dark and getting creative with my lights — it’s my first low light video and all the shots were done with my Canon T1i and a variety of lenses (mostly my Canon EF 50mm 1.8).

Here’s the shortened blog:

One of the questions I probably get asked most often is How Do I Write A Book, and that’s a pretty much impossible question to answer. There’s not really an easy way to explain how anyone writes a book. It’s like trying to explain how to fall in love, you can’t really put it into words or instructions well.

A book usually just starts off with you wandering around in a mess of potential ideas in your head and, picking one to go with, then deciding that one isn’t right, then chasing after another one and finding out that one’s not right either.

And then suddenly, from nowhere, comes this idea that you didn’t expect at all, and it just hits you like a train, and suddenly you’re obsessed with writing it down, and going into the backstories of ever tiny character and planning out histories and futures and worlds and every aspect of these character’s lives. That’s when you know you’ve found The Idea. That’s the start.

Then, where you were once struggling to push out a thousand or a hundred or even 5 words a day, now you’re writing five thousand or ten thousand or fifteen thousand because you can’t pull yourself from writing this story. My writing tends to start at 5 in the evening and go to two or three AM but that’s because I entirely lose track of time when I’m writing. It pretty much becomes your life. You only fall deeper into the story the more you get to know it.

For example when I had the idea for Bran Hambric, it came to me late at night, and it just hit me with this image of two people on a rooftop, and suddenly I became obsessed with finding out every detail behind the how’s and who’s and why’s of this image.

And after the initial buzz that I got from writing on this new idea, the freshness of it wore off, and it’s then that a writer gets to find out if it’s the real thing or just another idea that’ll end up stuffed in a box somewhere.

That’s where things start to get a bit difficult, you have to plot out chapters, change things, revise it, then change it again and revise it again. That’s when some people just give up – it’s difficult to go on and it’s easy to stop and look for something newer and more temporarily interesting. Some people leave their stories orphaned like that. But some people press on through the hard times because they really, truly love this idea. They keep it up until they reach the end, and write that last word. And those are the people who become authors.

So I’d have to say that the way to write a book is to fall in love with an idea so much that you’re willing to stick out five or six years or however long it’ll take writing it and then finding an agent and a publisher and all the ridiculous hoops you have to jump through.

Because the only way anyone would be mad enough to do all that work with no real promise of any tangible reward at the end is if you truly love it. And if you love it enough, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it work, and turn that idea into a book.

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Kaleb Nation

Kaleb Nation is an author, content creator, and producer of Ask Dr. Drew. With over a decade of experience in viral media production and content marketing – including over 1000 videos and 100,000,000 views – he is a nationally recognized expert on digital culture and social media issues. Kaleb has been featured on CNN, HLN, NPR, ABC, MTV, Mashable, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and more. Read Kaleb's Story

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