You want to start writing a book! You dream of holding it in your hands. That wonderful moment when you open a big box containing copies of your book and pick one up. But in reality, right now, you are sat facing a blank computer screen and wishing you could be anywhere else, as the hours tick by and you struggle to get the words down. That magical day when you are finished writing and your book is published seems a long way off.
Writing a book is no walk in the park. I know. I’ve written two of them. But you can beat writer’s block and get your book ready to publish by following these 6 steps to write your book without it becoming a chore. Lots of bestselling authors write their books this way. You can too.
1. Draft an outline
Before you start your first writing session you should have a good idea of who your book is for and what it’s going to be about. Now you can begin writing your book. Start by drafting an outline. This is an overview of how your book is going to unfold. Think of it as a table of contents.
This helps you get a clear picture of your book. Where you are going to begin from, what it’s going to cover, right through to the last page. You can even start sketching out the chapter headings and put a few bullet points under each one about what you’re going to cover in that section.
I did this when I wrote Rise Of The Youpreneur and it really helped me to have that overview of what I was working on.
2. Flesh out your bullet points
Once you’ve got your headings with a few bullet points underneath, it’s time to add more detail. Start fleshing out those bullet points. Develop your argument and start drafting your conclusion at the end of each chapter. This will help you see how you move people through the book.
Not only will you immediately be able to see how your book is mapped out but you can also pay attention to whether your argument or your step-by-step process is going to make sense to your reader. You can spot if anything needs to be moved around before you get deep into the writing when it’s more of a pain to shift parts from one chapter to another. Don’t think this will eliminate editing, you’ll probably still have to do this. But having a clear idea of the process you are going to lead the reader through from the start will give you clarity as you write.
3. Turn your bullet points into sentences
By now you should have a pretty decent looking document. You’ve got a clear plan for how the book develops and pointers for what you’re going to write about in each chapter. Now you’re going to turn those bullet points into sentences and start writing paragraphs. Some bullet points will develop into essays. What you are doing here is tricking yourself into writing the book.
Before long you will find you have got several thousand words down and you haven’t had to struggle with them at all. You knew what you wanted to write about, you know your topic, and you’ve put your knowledge, experience, and personality down on paper, or more likely, on the computer screen.
You’re going to feel really good about getting all of this out of your system. No more staring into the distance wondering what to write. Once you’ve started to do this and you see chapters coming together, you’ll find you have the motivation to keep going. That beautiful moment when you’re going to hold your published book in your hands is getting closer by the day.
4. Start editing your book
Congratulations, you’ve written a book! But the work is not over yet. You’ve now got a first draft and it’s time to read through and see how it works as a complete document. Does it flow? Does your argument make sense? Have you introduced concepts in the right places? Have you left anything out the reader needs to know? Go through your rough draft with a critical eye and ask yourself whether your book does what you wanted it to do when you first planned it out.
5. Get someone else to read it
Now it is time to get a fresh pair of eyes, or several pairs of eyes, on what you have written. Your editor will go through your manuscript and check it for you. You can also ask a few beta readers, people in your community, to have a look at it for you and give you their feedback.
Getting someone else to read your book can feel daunting but don’t worry – you need to hear that feedback early on.You might just want to get your book out there but getting other people to read it will help you write a better book. You’re going to be too close to it to be able to spot any issues. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
6. Rewrite following the feedback
Rewrite? I know your heart sank when you read that but rewriting is a big part of writing a book. Do not be tempted to hit delete! Make a new copy of your file to work on the edits. You may well have written something which doesn’t fit this book but could be useful for your next one. Having a copy of your original saved is a useful backup.
You’re going to have a lot of feedback from your editor and your beta readers. Now it’s time to start revising. Don’t skip this stage. You will regret it if you do. Your early readers want you to succeed and their comments and suggestions are going to help you write a better book. This stage might take longer than you spent writing your first draft. Be prepared for that. I thought the rewrites for Virtual Freedom would go on forever. However, it was well worth it.
By the end of this process, you will have a book you can be proud of that is going to help the people you want to serve. I look forward to reading it.
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our weekly podcast, Youpreneur.FM, as well as our annual conference, the Youpreneur Summit. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.