Would you like to know how to write a book to put your personal brand and your career ‘on the map’ but keep putting off doing something about it because just don’t have time? Here’s a straightforward approach that can fit the busiest schedule and will get you started quickly.
This is the first in a series of weekly posts on how to write a book that will run here over the next several weeks. If you already know what you’d like to write about, but just cannot figure out how to get started then this series is for you.
The Challenge of Writing a Book
My life is your life: pressure of business and incessant traveling makes it difficult to plan longer term projects – like writing a book. But I’ve still managed to write five books using an approach I originally developed for writing business proposals – one that’s at the heart of the process described in my first book ‘Winning Business Proposals’.
I’ve not previously shared this approach previously as a way of writing a book, even thought it’s just the way I write my own books. So I cannot say with hands on my heart that it is the perfect approach for everyone – but as it works for me I expect it will work for you. Read on and judge for yourself.
Writing a Book This Way Fits YOUR Schedule
This planning approach is so visual, you can so immediately see the shape and structure of your developing book that, even if you get distracted from it for weeks or months at a time, it takes only minutes to tune back into where you were at.
The process can be used for writing a book over as long a period as you wish – you can fit it to your available time and resources. My most recent offering took years to work through the first four phases of this approach – I had to fit it into a very busy work schedule.
Better to progress writing a book slowly than to wait for some imaginary time in the future when you’ll take the time to do it all in one concentrated effort. Be honest – that probably won’t ever happen!
Here’s my take on how to write a book in the next six posts in this series:
- Step 1: Set up. You’ll set up a ‘war room’ that will become the beating heart of your efforts in your development and writing efforts over the coming weeks and months. You’ll also set up a way of beginning to build up your content easily and naturally – even as you go about your day to day business. At the end of this step your book will already have started to take shape – with little or no time investment.
- Step 2: Building Momentum. The first step above was just set up – now you are ready to get started on Step 2 of the process of actually creating your book. In Step 2 you’ll really kick things up a gear – investing a little more time in some basic research to flesh out your book’s content.
- Step 3: Create Your Chapters. In Step 3 you’ll create the basic structure for your fledgling book. By the end of this phase you’ll have a rough idea of how it’s going to look in terms of structure and content. When this step is complete you’ll have the first look at how your entire book will hang together in terms of the chapter structure – you’ll know what your basic chapters will be called, and exactly what ideas each will present. You’ll be able to look around your war room walls and see a first pass of your entire book flowing from idea to idea before your eyes.
- Step 4: Refine Your Book. Step 3 got you to a stage where you have a framework of chapters and a clear idea of most of the ideas each of those chapters will introduce. In Step 4 you’ll review your developing content to identify any gaps in the flow of your ideas – and to decide how to plug those gaps. You’ll also fine-tune the flow of your ideas. By the end of Step 4 you’ll know exactly what you’re going to say to the world – and how.
- Step 5: Create a Formal Outline. In Step 5 you will take all of your work to date and convert it into an outline in your word processing software – after which you’ll be ready to start writing the deeper content of the body of your chapters. An exciting milestone.
- Step 6: Write your content. The hardest part of writing a business book is deciding what you want to write and in what order – creating an outline. So the really heavy lifting is finished by the time you get to this point. But in Step 6 there will be some tips and tricks that I’ll share with you in this final step that will save you learning the hard way.
This method assumes that you already have a reasonably clear idea of what you’d like your business book to cover. If you don’t yet have that clarity then you have a week before the next post in this series takes you through Step 2– so get thinking!