Writing a book will raise your profile, enhance your personal brand and advance your career – so why haven’t you started?
This series takes you step-by-step through the process of writing a book – using a process that doesn’t require that you put your life on hold to get it done. If you haven’t already made a start you can get an introduction to this entire series here. If you’ve been working through the process then well done – you are just a few quick steps away from starting to write the content of your book!
This series had originally been planned to run for just six posts. This is the sixth, but I’m afraid it’s not the last! To make the post size more manageable I have had to extend the series to last a further two posts. In the last post you took all of your thinking and planning from the first five steps of this process and converted all of your work from your ‘war room’ into a formal outline for your book. The structure and content of your book is now becoming very clear indeed. The only major step remaining is the writing of your content.
But before diving into writing your content, fleshing out your book’s content, you should take a little time to polish your outline. Any work you do at this stage will save you a lot of time and effort later – the more polished your outline the faster you’ll write your book.
Ask yourself these two questions:
1. Is Your Outline Detailed Enough?
Consider whether each point in the outline represents a single idea which can be described in a few sentences.
If so, then you have enough detail. If not — if any of your points require explanation of multiple ideas — then consider breaking those points down into finer sub-points.
Continue this exercise until you are at a stage where each point is a single, easily described idea.
2. Does Your Outline Flow Smoothly?
Now consider the order in which each of your points is being presented. When you think down through the outline, can you perceive a logical development of the messages and ideas that you wish to convey? Will the order in which you are presenting the points and sub-points draw the reader through your book idea by idea, chapter by chapter, towards your desired conclusion? If the flow of ideas is not smooth and logical then consider the following:
- Is it because you need some further ideas or points built in? If so, then build in these new points and sub-points.
- Is it because the order in which you are presenting the points and sub-points is not optimal? Make sure that you feel comfortable that the points and sub-points are presented in an order that will promote easy understanding of the section’s message.
- Could it be because you have too much detail? If so, then remodel your outline, eliminating any points that you find superfluous or confusing.
When you are confident that your outline represents a flow of ideas that will be easily accessible to the reader, then you are at last ready to start writing – and that’s what we’ll do in the next post “Write Your Book!”
What are you finding most challenging in polishing your outline?
Post your questions in ‘Comments’ below and I’ll help you out