Making a plan
It is way easier to write when you have planned out your key messages and thought through the stories you want to share to illustrate your points. Try not to have too many key messages, otherwise you will overwhelm not only yourself but the reader too.
If you come up with three key messages, for example, list under each message how you will share the information, will it be through stories (both your own and others you may have interviewed), factual data, other written documents/books on the topic.
When you start to work out what will be covered, it is much easier to start writing and you have a plan.
In writing Good Enough? we used a template to plan out what each chapter will cover. We wrote each theme on a post it note and as the book moved along, it changed but it helped us keep track of what needed to be included and where.
Now the order of the chapters may change, in fact, quite likely it will as your book takes shape, but the key at the beginning is to just write and stay focused on the content.
You may want to start with the chapter that is the easiest to write, as that way you have a taste of success from the get-go. It eases you into the writing flow.
Do you have a special deadline in mind? Perhaps you are talking at a conference or making an important presentation and would like to have the book available. You then need to work backwards from that date and build in certain milestones, so that you stay on track and meet that deadline.
When you are doing this, remember that everything takes longer than you think, so don’t box yourself in – build in time for Murphy’s law – what can go wrong, will go wrong. Much depends too on the steps you want to take – do you want to have your text copy edited (something I recommend because if nothing else it is a fresh pair of eyes looking at your work. ) then you need to allow time for that to happen.
The actual production takes time too. Check with who you want to print your book on the typical amount of time that this will take.
This post is part two of a series on writing books by Anne Day, President of Full Circle Publishing and author/editor of five books on Women and Entrepreneurship. Her next book, co-authored with Amy Vodarek will be coming out in Spring, 2017