3 super-awesome benefits to writing your first chapter

Everyone knows that the first sentence of your book is of staggering importance. The first sentence should hook the reader, making him want to read more. The first paragraph, the first page, and the first chapter are also important for the same reason, but today I want to focus on another aspect of your first chapter.

Getting the darn thing written.

If you’re anything like me, you might have a great idea, but you’ll turn it over and over in your head for weeks—months even—as you mentally perfect it, making sure every detail is in place before you commit anything to paper. I’m not a huge outline person, but perhaps you are, and perhaps you’ve even over-outlined—to the point where your plot is now going in circles.

Today I’m suggesting you avoid this mental rigamarole by just getting started.

Check out these three tangible benefits to having a completed first chapter:

You’ll gain confidence. Let’s face it, having the first chapter of your book written—even if it’s only a few pages—is a huge confidence booster. You did it! And once you have one chapter, two is not much of a stretch. The hardest part, most definitely, is going from nothing to something. From there, the sky’s the limit.

You’ll have a clear direction. This is true whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction. The first chapter sets the stage for the rest of your book in so many ways: style, tone, certain plot elements, and of course, the all important “hook.” Finding direction after the first chapter is just a matter on building on what you already have. Sometimes all you need to do is start writing.

You’ll get more ideas. It’s well-known that “success breeds success,” so I’ll take that a step further and suggest that turning your ideas into a coherent first chapter breeds more ideas. In much the same way that you’ll have a clearer direction for your book, the myriad ideas you spark while writing your first chapter will become fodder for the rest of your story.

Have you finished your first chapter? Did you experience any of these benefits? Comment below!

If you’re ready to write your book, give #365daynovel a shot, and get started today.

My confession: I actually designed #365daynovel for people like me. People who need structure and self-discipline in order to make progress every day. And for people who, like me, could use a good bit of hand-holding during the whole process!


9 thoughts on “3 super-awesome benefits to writing your first chapter

  1. Hi, Tim. I just re-read my chapter one (I’m on chapter 25 now) of my middle grade novel. Having recently read some things agents and publishers hate about openings, I’m thinking maybe I should change it. But I’m still working on the novel, trying to catch up. Will post my new word count total a little later today.


  2. This may sound weird I didn’t write my first chapter first, I wrote various events that happened in the middle of the book, moments that seemed to come out of some teen romance….not focus on where it started really helped and actually one of the scenes meant for the middle ended up as the first chapter… strange huh?


  3. Finally have just over the first chapter done 🙂 Life is busy and I find I sometimes have trouble finding the time to sit and write. When I actually do I’m usually at it for hours. But you are right having that first bit makes it easier for the rest of the story. Now I know where it is going to lead and also the tone which as changed from the original thought. I have also started to carry a journal around with me. My daughter got me a beautiful leather bound one with parchment paper for Christmas. During the day I jot down ideas as they come to me, wherever I am. I am finding this makes it easier when I do sit down to know where the flow of my story is going. I’m also lucky to have two very trusted readers who go over the story and give me feedback.


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