This is the third post in a series that shows you how to write a book that will put your career on a faster track and dramatically improve your personal brand.
For an overview of this series on how to write a book have a quick read of the first post before reading on. If you’ve already read the first post then I recommend that you read the second post too – this step will make more sense when you’ve done so.
In Step 1 you started the process of capturing onto your ‘war room’ walls all of the ideas and topics you have had flying around in the back of your mind since you first started thinking that you might write a book – one idea or topic per Post-it. This is an exciting time – as all of the ideas you have make it to paper you starts to get a hazy idea of how your book might look. After all of the time you spent thinking about it it’s exciting to finally be doing something concrete to make your book a reality – that’s Step 2: ‘Structure Your Book’.
Step 2: Building Momentum
Step 2 consists of three actions
After a few weeks or months (depending on how much you throw yourself into the process and upon the scope of your book) you will have completed a ‘brain dump’ of most of those ideas and you could start to run out of steam. Of course, as we discussed in the last post, your subconscious (your Reticular Activating System) will still remain alert for any potential topics that come up as you go about your working day – but it’s a good idea to give it a little help.
To keep the momentum Step 2 consists of just three actions that you’ll repeat until you feel ready to move to the next step:
- Start researching and reading on your target topic. Use a good expertise development plan to become an expert on your planned topic and, any time you have a spare moment, dive into Google and see what you can uncover as you read and research. Continue to use the Post-its to capture further ideas for anything you feel you need to cover in your book. Your Post-it Bulletin Boards will allow you to post entire pages of research/articles/magazine clippings etc on the walls in your war room if you wish – and, of course, you can put more detailed material from your research on your PC for later use when you come to begin writing your book.
- Commit to investing some time on a reasonably regular basis – however little. Even one or two hours weekly spent review your war room content will move your book along nicely. In the beginning do nothing more than organizing your sea of Post It ideas into logically related topics – a topic will consist of several of your core ideas. Each group should support just one topic or concept. This is a great exercise for starting to unconsciously build a picture in your mind of what your developing book will cover – and it will prime your subconscious for where it needs to focus in the coming weeks. Don’t sweat this too much: just roughly sort the ideas into related topic groups – like those in the figure above. You’ll have many many more Post-ts so don’t expect it to look as tidy as my illustration! (Don’t forget: as I mentioned in the last post, to save me some time these figures were recycled from my book on Winning Business Proposals where they were used to show the same process applied to writing a proposal. Just ignore the topics on my Post-its and focus on the method – the principle is the same).
- Start to bring it all together. A time will come when you feel like you’re pretty close to having enough content that, when you organize it, flesh it out and write it up, it will be close to being a complete book. Don’t worry – you’ll know when you’ve reached that point in time. Finish the sort that you started in bullet 2 above – so that all of your ideas are sorted into dozens of distinct topic groups – one topic per group (as in the illustration above).
When you’ve done that then it’s time to do a little more detailed organization of the sea of topics and ideas populating your war room walls to create a clearer overview of your book.
That’s the topic of the next post in this series, Step 3: Create Your Chapters, on how to write a book to enhance your personal brand.
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