Because I have written books (both ebooks and traditionally published books) people I meet often confide to me that they want to write a book. Often they have been thinking about it a long time but they don’t know how to start. There are several ways to think about getting started writing a book. Here’s one idea to get initially organized.
My logical, linear inclination is to think I have to start with the first paragraph and write sequentially until the end. Not so. Although I don’t write fiction, this process has much to offer the fiction writer, but is aimed specifically at the nonfiction writer.
Nonfiction books consist of chapters, generally. Each chapter is one topic and while the topic is related to the book as a whole, chapters are often separate divisions of information.
As you begin to think about your book, draft a rough outline. It might look as simple as this:
Massively interesting title
Chapter One: Chunk
Chapter Two: Chunk
Chapter Three: Chunk
Chapter Four: Chunk
Chapter Five: Chunk
Chapter Six: Chunk
Chapter Seven: Chunk
Chapter Eight: Chunk
Chapter Nine: Chunk
Chapter Ten: Summarize chunks and draw your conclusions
If you browse the nonfiction section of your bookstore, you’ll notice many books have 10, 12 or 15 chapters so this is a good start.
Next you have to decide if you are a digital gal or a pen-and-paper person. I am the latter so I always start this process with labeled file folders. Each folder has the chapter number and topic on the label. Stuff these folders into a bigger folder (like a legal folder) so they are all in one place.
If you’re a digital gal, open a new folder on your desktop with your working title. Open 10 Word documents with the chapter number and title.
From this day forward, every time you think of or come across something that belongs in the book, you write it down or make an electronic note and dump it into the file. My physical files usually end up being filled with articles I’ve town out or printed, scribbled notes, notecards of info, and slips of random paper. Your digital file would have similar contents.
This is going to take some time. If you’re writing a short ebook, the process is quicker. But if you are looking at a full-length book, this could take months or years!
As time allows, pull out a file (or open a file), organize the information and record your thoughts. Over time you will have sentences. Sentences grow into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages. Soon you’ll have a book.
What’s the best way to start writing a book?
Just make a start.