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How to Start Writing Your Next Book


Before you can start writing a book, it is a great idea to start documenting aspects of your life and career. A timeline is a critical tool for seeing the big picture and creating a baseline for an organized flow of ideas, stimulating your memory and providing inspiration. Although you might not be focusing your book on your personal story, you may find that certain aspects of your life have contributed to your success, and you may want to touch on these aspects throughout your book. The easiest way to do this, is to create a bullet-point representation of the period of time that you want to share in your book, on which important events are marked.


You may use your timeline to write your book in a chronological way. However, that is not how it will end up because books that are written chronologically or in a linear fashion can easily lose the interest of the readers. They become distracted and numb from the step-by-step journey through your life. Reader psychology tells us that readers love to be entertained by interesting starts, changes in pace, cliff-hanger chapters, and flashbacks.


As you venture through your book writing journey, you will need to think about themes and emotions. Have a look at research and case studies, client testimonials and expert interviews. Your story will provide a backbone to your book, but certain events will link to specific themes. Specific themes will appear to become chapters, and other themes may flow throughout the entire book. Remember that writing is the fluid process before your words become an actual book. Keep that in mind once your timeline is complete.


You may start your journey with a fear of being inadequate in the creative department. You may start with a rigid list of chapters. While this is often a good way to begin organizing your thoughts, where is the playfulness in all that rigidness? Writing is a playful experience and you need to embrace your inner child. When you were a child, you probably loved to draw, paint, and imagine all sorts of games to play. Dress up, fairy gardens and monsters were all too real. That inner child is still within you, hiding behind the responsibilities of the awesome adult that you have become. It is time to let them out.


Writing does not have to be ‘adult’. It needs to be fluid and a little bit messy. Ideas flow as they wish, however too often we sit staring at our screens, struggling for precisely the right word, or the best way to open a chapter, paragraph or sentence. This painful striving for perfection dampens our inner creativity, we become distracted, and we lose the book of our dreams forever.


During this journey, switch off the analytical side of your brain. Just write. Do not worry about language, rules of grammar and conventional thinking. Let your words spill onto the page. Ignore the typos and punctuation. In fact, don’t even look at the screen. There will be some nuggets of gold in your nonsensical rhetoric. You will have time to trim and correct, but right now is the time to just get it out.


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