Seven Steps to Writing a Book When You’re Not Ready to Write
Is there a book in your future?
Do you have an idea for a great best seller that you will get to someday? That “someday” maybe a long a long way off, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start now. And in fact, as someone who has helped several authors move their books out of their head and onto paper, I would urge start now, even if you realistically won’t finish it for years.
Because in starting now, you are taking an important step in making it happen. And, in starting now, even if you won’t work on it intensively for a while, you are giving yourself a strong head start. This way, when you are ready to get serious about the project, you have a foundation to build on and it will be a much easier process.
The same way you would eat an elephant – one bite at a time. (Although can we agree that we don’t really want to eat real elephants?)
1) Start by deciding that you are going to write the book. This doesn’t mean you need to be prepared to spend hours at your computer, at least not right now. It is simply making a concrete commitment to yourself (and your future readers)
2) Write down why you want to write the book. This will help you focus the project, and it will keep you motivated, which you will need especially if this is going to be a multi-year process
3) Pick a title. You can change it later, but naming it will make it more real.
4) Write the back jacket copy. Again, you can change it later, but writing it down gives you focus. Make it exciting and intriguing.
5) Write an introduction. Talk about what inspired you to write the book and what you want to convey.
6) Start collecting information. Keep it simple, just two files – one on the computer and one near your desk in which you can put articles or facts or other things that you would like to include or that inspires ideas.
7) Collect your thoughts. For non-fiction, think about the structure of the book and the chapters. For fiction, think about characters and what they’ll do. Jot down ideas as they come to you. This part can be as simple or complex as you would like. You are basically gathering materials to work with when you are ready. The more you have, the better prepared you will be.
If you are feeling really bold, mention your book idea in conversation to get people’s reactions and insights. Maybe they’ll confirm what you think or maybe they’ll send in you in a new direction. But watch out, maybe they will motivate you to get moving sooner than you expected.