When you start to think about writing a book, especially a book built off of your very own expertise, point-of-view, and thought leadership — there can be a seemingly endless series of obstacles that will rise up and get in your way.
While your specific experience will of course be unique to you, the general obstacles that show up are so incredibly common that they verge on universal.
This fourth article in a series uncovers one of the most common obstacles that get in the way on the road to writing your book — getting stuck after an initial burst of an idea.
Others in this series:
One of the most common ways that I see first-time, nonfiction authors become super stuck in a writing project is when they have a ton of passion and excitement about an idea, and all they want to do is just start writing.
So they start out with a bang… but then they just sort of peter out and find themselves in a murky and disappointing place with their confidence and passion waning.
They find themselves wondering if there’s something wrong with their book idea, or if they have enough expertise to share their message, or if there is something inherently wrong with them.
It’s a painful experience, but the reality is there’s nothing at all wrong with them.
There’s a lot of baggage around writing and the creative process.
We’ve created this mythical idea that writing is some sort of magical process that should just happen effortlessly, and if you put effort into it you do so in a very particular creative genius-type quirky way.
The reality is that writing is a creative process, but it’s also one that also requires thoughtful planning and structure.
All the self-doubt and pain that can emerge from trying to write on solely the fumes of passion and excitement, can be completely transformed by instead creating a blueprint for your book.
Top 5 Elements of a Blueprint for Your Book
1. What’s the point of your book
One of my favorite things is to work with clients on honing their book idea — really getting super clear on the point of their book. What the book is saying. Why does it need to be in the world?
You must know the point of your book to be able to write it successfully.
2. What’s the title of your book
You need to know what the title of your book will be or might be. The title is the anchor for the story you are telling. While the title may change, identifying one is key to solidifying the story you will tell. Different titles are different ways into the same story. Which version of your idea are you telling?
3. What is your table of contents
You need to know all the elements that ladder up to your point so you can write your table of contents. There are also lots of different ways your table of contents could be organized. Take a look at a few of your favorite nonfiction books and you’ll start to see how wide-ranging the structures are.
You also need to know the material each of your chapters will cover and how each chapter will move from one to the next — the arc of your overall story. And, yes, nonfiction books tell a story too. You are taking your reader on a journey from point A to point B.
4. Who is your reader
You need to know your reader inside and out. If you are in business and your reader is also the type of person who is your client, then you probably know her pretty well — but no matter whether you know her well or not, push yourself to write down on paper a clear description of who she is, why she needs your book and why she will buy it. How your book is going to change her perspective and her life? Why will she BUY your book?
5. How will you market and promote this book
You need to know how you will market and promote your book. How you will personally show up in the world and sell the book. Don’t think marketing is relevant to writing your book? Then how will it get read?
Use these five elements to create a Blueprint for Your Book and you’re sure to get unstuck, or feel more ready to get started in the first place.
If you feel you could use some one-on-one help, we can work through the Blueprint for Your Book process together. It’s these five elements plus much, much more. You will come away with a complete plan for your book including your first chapters — and will be ready to develop your book proposal, or if your plan includes self-publishing, you will be ready to start writing your book!