Want to write a book? Don’t know how to start?
You want to write a nonfiction book, or perhaps you’re already writing a book. I work with writers every day who get stuck on a book. Either they don’t know how to start, or they pick the wrong topic for them, or they think they need way more research than they do… their problems are endless.
Here’s a big tip if you’d like to write nonfiction: pick a topic you know, AND/ OR pick a topic you LOVE and want to learn more about. It’s essential that you pick something you’ll enjoy writing about.
Next, plan. The biggest mistake I see authors making is that they fail to plan.
Yes, I know, you just want to start writing. 🙂 Please take five minutes to plan. You know the old saying, failing to plan means planning to fail.
So here’s how to plan in five minutes.
Want to write a book? Here’s how to plan it in 5 minutes
Follow steps one to five below. You should be able to complete the steps in five minutes or less.
Why five minutes? Because… five minutes.
No matter how busy you are, you can spare five minutes — and those five minutes will either confirm that your initial idea is great for you, or it’s a complete disaster and you need to pick something else.
1. Choose a topic you know and love.
What will you write about? I’m sure you’ve got endless topics about which you could write, because writers tend to be interested in many things.
Grab a sticky note, and write your topic on it. (Don’t skip this step.)
Next, hop over to Amazon’s Kindle Store, and see whether there are any bestsellers on the topic. If yes, go to the next step. If no, choose another topic, and repeat, until you find a salable topic YOU can write.
2. SLANT your topic to make it your own.
Look at the top-selling ebooks on your topic.
You need a fresh take on the topic. What have the bestsellers disregarded or left out? Check the tables of contents of the ebooks. It shouldn’t take you long to think of a fresh angle on the topic.
3 Create a 2-minute outline: who, what, WHY, when, where and HOW.
Just write down who the ebook’s for, why they need it, when they need it, where they need it, and how your readers will benefit from your ebook.
Big, BIG tip: approach your outline from the point of view of your readers. Your ebook must benefit your readers in some important way… if the topic doesn’t benefit them, rethink.
4. Create your working title.
Try TOPIC/ SLANT + Problem Solved And/ Or Benefit.
Start with your topic, and the slant you’re taking — example: “easy weight loss”.
“Easy weight loss” incorporates the topic, and the slant.
Vital: make sure that you have the benefit in the title.
Visit Amazon, and study titles in your topic area.
Here’s one of my titles Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories. It may not be an outstanding title, but it’s got the topic, the slant, and the benefit.
Just write something — anything — for now. This is simply a working title; you can change it at any time.
5. Your five minutes are up.
And your planning is done. Easy, right? You’ve now got the basic sketch for an ebook, which you hope will sell, and you got it done quickly.
Here’s the benefit of working this way: you’ve got enough material to give you a handle on the project and inspire you. There’s not enough to scare you or intimidate you… Avoid overwhelming yourself with information at this early stage. You want just enough information to conquer your inertia — not enough to arouse your inner editor and kill your idea.
Do another five-minute plan for another ebook, just for practice. 🙂
6. Start writing, but don’t start at the beginning.
You’re ready to start writing… BUT…
Don’t start at the beginning — unless you have a great idea for how to start your book. Look for where your energy is… what part of your book do you want to write?
There’s no rule which says you have to begin at the beginning unless you’re highly motivated and want to start there. Start anywhere you like. Keep your slant in mind — everything you write needs to relate to your slant.
Keep writing, and have fun. 🙂