Writing a Book: Overview

I’ve been a book coach for 19 years, working with people all over the world on memoir, novels, self-help books and even film scripts. I began my career as an international journalist (in newsrooms like London’s Financial Times).

People come to my company, Art of Storytelling, wanting to write and publish a book. Few understand the stages involved. I’m creating an outline of the stages here, and expounding upon them on my YouTube Art of Storytelling stream. Subscribe to both blog and stream to keep posted on more on the publication process. We assist people wherever they are at in the book writing process, from rough draft to publication.

Rough draft

Duration: On average, a rough draft takes a new writer one to two years to complete.

Skill sets: In this phase, you’ll be learning to develop characterization, setting, plot and theme.

Biggest Lesson: The greatest lesson you can learn at this stage is to get into a zone, and to write from the soul no matter HOW rough it is. Most new writers start as perfectionists and must unlearn this to become true writers.


Duration: More than one revision will be required, sometimes three to five revisions.

  • The first revision is a deepening of the rough draft and usually means simply getting the story straight from start to finish. Because this is so deep, it can take one year for new writers.
  • The next revision is for polishing the language. This can take a few months.
  • A final polishing revision is required. At this stage some writers send the manuscript to a professional editor. Duration one month.

Skill sets: Learning how to write a plot, deepening of characters, integrating setting details, deepening the themes.

Biggest lesson: When you write a book, it must be transformational to you, and only in so doing will it be transformational to others. Leaving the intellect and burying oneself deep in the soul is the lesson here.

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.

– Robert Frost


We’ll cover the process of publication (building an author platform, finding a literary agent, and the publication process for both traditional and self publishing) in our next blog.

Art of Storytelling is a book coaching and editing service, and offers a free initial consultation. Contact us today.


11 thoughts on “Writing a Book: Overview

  1. This is helpful. It’s funny, I have cried while writing or finishing certain posts. I’ve never read that Robert Frost quote before. Blogging has been an incredibly helpful way to at least start. Writing a whole book is my goal but it feels like…eating an elephant? Helpful post.


  2. Very good points! My first book took me one year to write and edit; my second involved much more learning and revision, alongside my college classes, and took about five years to complete; my third book has taken about a year to research and outline, so far. Can’t wait to read more from your bog! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s