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How to Write a Book
For centuries there has been a large misconception about the process of writing a book. We have all heard the tales of drudgery, empty lives, and nonstop writing obsessions. I have often wondered where, in all of these passed down stories, do we find reality?
To balance the many dramatic stories of the difficulties of writing a book, there are many seemingly unnoticed true stories of authors who have sat down and written their books in a months time or less.
One such example is Dr. Richard Carlson, who wrote “Don't Sweat the Small Stuff”. He wrote the entire book which is still selling in the millions, during a 12 hour transatlantic flight. Another author you probably know is Barbara Cartland. She wrote each of her books in 5 days, amassing a whopping 623 best-sellers in her lifetime.
How does that help you? Easy. Knowing it is possible to write well and quickly helps you to take action. There are many new publishing capabilities available today making it possible to have your own book published and printed inside of a week. Now is the best time in history to learn to write a book, and have it published, in a short period of time.
"How do you write a nonfiction book quickly and well," you ask? One big key is to practice. Now, I'm not talking about writing different books until you get it right. I'm talking about starting with a small topic or idea, one that you have knowledge about and love.
Then, you write a small book, from start to finish. Self publish it for free, and voila, you have conquered the paralyzing monster known as fear. Yes,it is the fear of the unknown that keeps most writers from moving quickly through these easy steps. Hence, so many people think about writing a book for years, and, sadly, never do.
Steps to writing a book:
Step 1: Choose a small, simple, single topic. Choose a topic you have knowledge about and enjoy. Leave the big best-selling books and the books full or research until after you have mastered this crucial first step.
When you start writing your first book; you want to make sure you are not standing in a crossroad looking at a variety of directions to choose from. Focus on one small, simple topic. You can always write more books. Begin with an easy overview type of a book.
As you begin to ponder on your small, single topic, make a note of the time. You want to be done choosing a topic in an hour or less. The topic you choose from your vast array of ideas, should be one that you have knowledge in and have a passion for.
The rest of your ideas will be used for other books. For now, put blinders on. Choose a small single topic for your first book.
Step 2: Get organized. I realize that the mere word “organize” can send cold chills up and down your neck and spine. Bear with me for a moment and you will be cured of that fear for good. Grab nine sheets of paper or pull up 9 document pages on your computer. On page one, write your topic in a sentence or two. On page two, write a draft title for your book. Anything will do here. You will put the real title on it when you are all done.
On page three, write down 5 chapter titles. Again, rough chapter titles are fine for now.
On pages four through nine, you will write out all your thoughts and ideas for each of your 5 chapters. This is a very flexible system. You can have more or less than 5 chapters. It all depends on your subject. Remember, though, the key is to write a short, quick first book, to get practice and experience. Leave the long exciting novels for now.
On page 10, keep track of all the sources you are using if needed.
The last page you should keep in case you decide to write an appendix.
Great, you are all organized, now let's get to it. Let's write that book already!
Step 3: Pick up page 3. This is your first chapter. Spend 30 minutes or so writing down all the thoughts and ideas you have for this chapter. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. You are simply writing down your ideas and thoughts for now. Rinse and repeat for each of your chapters.
Many writers today find it beneficial to take breaks after each chapter. I find that after pouring out everything I have on my mind to talk about, I am spent. My mind needs a rest. So, I allow myself to take a break and repeat the process for chapter 2 a few hours later, or even the next day.
Repeat this process until you have written each chapter. If you have research you are adding into your first book, go back after you have written your thoughts and ideas for all your chapters and make notes to the source material and your quotes.
Step 4: Finalize and proof each chapter. Now is the time to go over your chapters with a fine tooth comb. A word of caution here: Remember, you are writing your first book, not a masterpiece, not the next blockbuster to be remembered throughout all time. You simply want to 'write a book' and finish it. Quick and easy. Once you have gotten through the process, you will find that writing the books of your dreams will flow quickly and easily.
The biggest obstacle to writing your first book is to actually “write it”!
Once you have written it, you move graciously to publishing and then you are done. Finished! And now a part of you that has been yearning for years, is finally complete. With that completeness comes a calm resolve and the fear of the unknown is banished forever. Each book you decide to write from that day forward will come more easily and naturally.
Tips on how to write a book:
1. Organize your pages first. This will vanquish procrastination.
2. Put your perfectionistic tendencies away. You are creating a first book that will help others. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.
3. When you are writing or pondering and more ideas come to mind. Write them down on a separate piece of paper or word document. These ideas will flourish and grow for your next books. For now, keep your blinders on and follow these steps.
4. There...believe it or not, you are done. You are the happy owner of your first book!
Bluedolphin Crow is the writer for BellaOnline's Nonfiction Writing Site. Why not circle her on Google+?
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