Following are a few selected tips to help you in your book writing quest. This information is intended to help you see your book through to completion, regardless of any obstacles (real or imagined) that could get in the way. If you persist, you will be among the few who actually complete the book they set out to write.
1: Take Time To Crystallize Your Thinking
You want to become absolutely clear about the direction of your book. Never start writing until you know the exact direction in which you want to go. If you jump the gun, you may get into the flow of writing and get off to a great start. But sooner or later you’re going to inevitably run into a wall. At this point, confusion and frustration sets in, challenging your desire and commitment. It’s enough for most to say “I’m out of here” only to abandon their project because they’ve found that it’s just too difficult to write a book.
The only real problem these folks encountered was having no clear-cut path to follow. Their initial enthusiasm and momentum could only advance them so far. Ultimately they came to major crossroad and couldn’t figure out how to proceed.
Clearly the solution is to gain clarity from the start. Know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Create a working title that gives you a clear direction and a definiteness of purpose.
2: Become An Information Gatherer
Once you’ve nailed down your specific topic, it’s time to collect your research. Seek the best information from reliable sources. Peruse books, magazines, trade journals and online discussion forms. Conduct interviews with experts in your topic area and gather snippets any of information you might be able to use in some way.
Collect more information than you’ll need. You want only the best, most helpful and on-target information available. But that usually means sifting through a lot of sand to find a few nuggets.
Once you have adequate background material, review it all and make note of key ideas and particularly valuable resources. Fill your brain with subject-specific information so you really get a grip on the material before you launch into the writing process.
3: Brainstorm Key Ideas
What information do your readers want to know? Put yourself in their shoes and imagine life from that perspective. Jot down any ideas or words that float through your mind. At this point all you’re looking for are the main ideas you want to present in your book. If it’s a “how to” book, list all the steps involved in achieving a successful outcome or in solving the problem most readers are likely to have.
4: Organize Your Ideas
The easiest method I’ve found to begin getting organized is to create a mind map. A mind map is a beautiful thing. And the more you use this tool, the more likely it is you’re rely on it again and again.
A mind map is merely a visual presentation of your ideas. As humans, we tend to think in images, rather than words. We read words and in order to comprehend meaning we cast mental images. Once you’ve created a few mind maps of your own, you’ll see how helpful they are in unleashing creativity and connecting one idea to another.
A few minutes invested in your mind map can help you gain an overview of a topic. It’s like seeing your content of your book at a glance. With the randomly-generated ideas displayed on a single page, creating an outline is a breeze.
5: Create Your Outline
An outline is absolutely crucial. Not only does it provide the framework of your book, it also ensures that you never get stuck wondering what to do next.
Take the key ideas from the mind map of your book and arrange them in some kind of logical sequence. With a “how to” book, this is easy. You simply begin with the first step and proceed in logical sequence with as many main steps as required. With any other non-fiction format, simply list your main topics in a way that makes the most sense to the reader.
Major topics provide the frame, but it’s all those nitty-gritty details that give your book substance. And a highly-effective outline includes as much detail as possible. You need to establish the framework first, just as you’d start with the structure of a home before worrying about the furniture and fixtures. Those details are important. But without the structure to provide the foundation, those ideas are merely random thoughts. It’s the outline that brings it all together in a coherent manner any reader can understand and appreciate.
6: Use Your Outline As A Blueprint
With your completed outline in hand, your book is all but complete. Even though you haven’t written a single sentence, your completed outline enables you to write your book super-fast. You’ve already done the heavy lifting. Now it’s just a matter or arrangement.
Write any segment you like and then choose another. You’ve already created the blueprint, so everything is organized perfectly. So it really doesn’t matter what chapter or segment you write next. I suggest taking a look at your outline and going with whatever feels good. Some segments will jump right out at you. Start there first and then go back to the outline and find another one. Keep at it and after just a few short segments you’ll gain some momentum.
7: Limit Your Time On Each Segment or Subtopic
Allow yourself to write freely within these two parameters: content and time. You’ve already outline enough content to write every segment of your book. But if you don’t limit your writing time, you’ll have a combination of very long segments and very short ones. Some variation is natural. But it you stick to a time limit for each and then write non-stop for the duration, you’ll hit your stride. This technique trains your brain to spit out the best material first because after each 5-10 minute segment, you’re moving on.
Don’t guess at the time. Invest in a simple kitchen timer and get used to using it. You’ll be astounded at how effective this technique is. Most beginning writers are surprised by both the quantity and quality of writing they create in just 5-10 minutes.
If you’re writing without the confines of an outline, you’ll wander down any path and the content inevitably lowers in value. But channel each segment by providing a trigger title or keywords first. Add the limitation of time and you literally force yourself to write quality content. Try it and you’ll see for yourself.
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