The US Library of Congress has over 32 million books in its collections and it’s still growing. So it seems that there is plenty of room for more literature.

The first step in writing a book is to read. Read everything. From short stories to poetry to novels to blogs to newspaper articles- they all provide different perspectives and writing styles. As you’re reading, make notes about anything that catches your eye- is it because it was the way something was cleverly-worded? Is it because of a viewpoint you never considered before? Thinking about what makes good writing in the first place will help strengthen your writing skills.

The next step in writing a book is to write. Every day. It doesn’t have to be for the book you want to write. Whether it’s in a private diary that only you will see; in a blog that the whole world can read; or articles designed for a specific audience; writing on a regular basis is critical in developing your voice and style. If you can get your writing read by others, either by getting stories and articles published or in a blog; so much the better since that way you can get feedback and reactions from others about your writing and also start building an audience for your works.

After that, the next thing is to figure out what you want to book to be about. Do you want to write a graphic novel? A opus on your life? The exhaustive history of underwater basket-weaving? Whatever the subject, it should be something that you are passionate about since the process can be long and emotionally draining at times.

Of course, the next step is to write the book, or at least enough of it so that you can share it with publishers and give them a good idea of what the book is about. This is also the step where hunting down an agent to represent you may be helpful as well, although some agents won’t represent you until you have a contract offer on the table.

The next step is to get the book published. This can be the traditional way, with shopping the book around to publishers and hoping one will pick it up. Or you could try a more unconventional method, like publishing the book yourself or putting the book out online.

However, just getting the book published isn’t the last step. You have to promote that book, whether it’s through a book tour, media events, creating your own holiday, online promotions- whatever it takes to get your intended audience’s attention to buy the book.

After all that hard work, take a break and go check out your book from the local library- and then start working on ideas for the next great novel.

This is the third post of the Top Ten Life Goals series. Previous posts include the list of the top ten goalsGoal #1- Losing Weight and Goal #2- Stop Procrastinating.