We have talked about getting ready to write. This has included answering basic questions such as who is your audience, what is your topic, why write this book now, and why are you the one to write this book.
A big next step is essentially a brain dump – getting all of your ideas on the topic out of your brain and on to a 3×5 card or a sticky note. Or into a computer program such as a mind map that simplifies connecting different ideas.
There is one more step before starting to scribble the crummy first draft. It’s time to decide on the basic format of your book. How will you organize it? What is the underlying premise of your book?
Are you going to present your viewpoint on a specific issue?
Different chapters could present different aspects of the issue.
You could incorporate the views of others and conclude with your viewpoint and why it is best.
You could present your viewpoint and then go back and discuss how you got there in separate chapters.
Perhaps you want to walk your reader through the steps to be a successful salesperson.
Organization for this could include some of your background to set yourself up as the best person to write this book.
You could then have different chapters on acquiring leads, warm calls, cold calls, etc.
You could have different chapters based on interviewing different experts in sales discussing their experiences and recommendations.
Or you could have a message that you believe is important for the world to hear, but you don’t want to get on your soapbox. You decide to draw your audience in to your point of view through an allegory, a story you tell.
Some time is spent creating the characters and their relationships with each other.
You then take the characters through some experiences that have them dealing with the problem your point of view addresses.
Through dialogue and action you show the characters experiencing different views of the problem, showcasing the view you want your reader to take away from reading your book.
After creating a preliminary outline (which will likely become the core of your table of contents) you are almost ready to write. Go through your stacks of notes, completing the process you started earlier of putting them with the various topics in your outline.
Identify the topics that are relatively complete and set them aside.
Identify the topics that need more research and add these to your to-do list for times you don’t feel like writing.
Now you can start to write. With many books each chapter is an entity of its own with a few sentences at the beginning and end that connect it with the adjacent chapters.
When working on your crummy first draft it doesn’t make a lot of difference which chapter you write first.
Go back and look at the topics you set aside. Pick the topic that you know the most about or have the strongest opinion about. Write a chapter on this topic, avoiding as much as possible editing as you go. When this chapter is completed pick another topic and write about it. And on and on, doing the necessary research before writing on those topics that need it.
In a future article I’ll talk more about the writing process itself.
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Feeling confused? Don’t know how to start organizing your information? Want some help? Let me partner with you as your Book Enchantress and we can quickly get you on your way.
Give me a call at 843-593-0045 or use this link to schedule a call to talk about what is involved.