Writing Non-Fiction Books: Steps to Success

There are three simple steps to success for non-fiction authors. Here, I will explain how to lay out a book plan and get started writing a great book. Writing non-fiction books is one of the best ways to start as an author.

Step One: The Big Idea

Come up with a big idea.  Figure out what the reader’s main desire is.  Figure out what the reader wants to accomplish. Another way of looking at that is what is the main problem he or she wants to overcome?

What Problem Are You Solving?

Figure out the problem you’re going to solve.  You may have already done that trying to figure out the big idea. If you haven’t now is the time.  Look at a specific problem that the reader would like to have solved.  Also, think about what are his/her past obstacles in this area.  They obviously haven’t overcome those or they’d have no need to read the book you’re planning on writing. So, figure out the big problem that you’re going to solve.

List the Steps

List steps taking the reader from where they are now to where they want to be. How do you get started?  That’s often the main question for someone trying to solve a problem.  Just where do you start?  Analyze that situation and help them answer that question. Another thing is to figure out is what obstacles will have to be overcome to get the reader from where they are now to where they want to be. 

Once you have those general ideas for your steps, then figure out what is the first baby step to take.  List that first.  Then think about other steps that will lead them to the best chance for success in that area.  Then, list the steps in the best order.  It may be chronological, or some other way.  Whatever is the best order.  Try to come up with at least 8 steps.  You have the general idea of how to get to the solution, just keep breaking that big idea down into smaller steps.

In Summary

You can come up with a concept for your book…that’s the big picture.
You can identify the problem that the writer wants solved.
You can break the journey into progressive steps.
You can lay out a plan for your book!

If you are an author or aspiring author, and you want to learn how to make this process even easier, go to Amazon and search for my newest book, “How to Write a Book in 28 Days or Less Without Stressing Yourself to Death” by Randy Carney. If you are reading this before October 15, 2021, you may want to wait until launch week on October 15, where you can get a discount for a limited time.

You can get more writing tips by clicking here.

Thank you for reading.  I wish you much success in your writing adventures!

Writing Nonfiction eBooks

writing nonfiction ebooks

Writing nonfiction eBooks can be a great way to get your writing career off the ground. It’s often easier and quicker than going the traditional route.

There are four main steps processes involved. The first is coming up with a general idea. Next is coming up with a more specific plan. After that, is the execution of the plan. Finally is the publishing step, and you have your end result.

The Big Idea

Having a general idea is all well and good.  But an important aspect is finding out what, exactly, your readers are interested in.  They want to know things related to what you are interested in.  You’ll need to do a survey.  Ask people what problems they have and need to be solved and what they are interested in.  Then the trick is to discover what you want to write about, what you know about, and what they want to read about.  Find the overlap, and you’ll have your idea.  You can write your eBook on what you want to write about and also help people with what they want to read about. 

The Plan

Now you move on to the plan You came up with the overall theme, or “big idea”, for your book. What is your book about, in a nutshell?  You need to be able to state that in a paragraph or even one sentence. 

Next, it’s time to come up with 10-21 working chapter titles.  A few more than that is ok.  Sometimes, if you start getting too many chapters, you can combine ideas.

Then you want to come up with chapter plans.  This is very important.  Come up with points for each chapter.  Here’s a secret:  It’s much easier to write an answer to questions.  After coming up with 9-15 points for your chapter, turn those into questions.  Then, for each question, give yourself little hints as to what you’re going to write as an answer to those questions.  Lay that out for the whole book.

The Execution

Write daily.  Figure out how many minutes a day you can write.  Make it at least 30 minutes, up to 75 minutes a day.  If you can write 75 minutes a day, you can complete a rough draft of a 20 chapter 200 page book in about 20 days.  The key is to write daily.  Another key is to write a fast rough draft.  Power through and get your rough draft done quickly.  Just write, and do the editing later.  Some people do prefer to edit daily, which is fine, but it will take longer each day if you do it that way.  Just make sure you write every day and complete your daily goals.  Doing it this way, you’ll be able to complete a rough draft fairly quickly and move on to editing.

You are the best editor for your book because you are the most familiar with what you want to say.  It does have some drawbacks when it comes to proofreading.  When you are proofreading your own work, your mind knows what you want to say, so sometimes it will put in a word when it’s not actually there.   So, edit your book after doing the first rough draft.  If you have the money and the inclination, you can hire a professional editor to help.

Publishing – The End Result

After the idea, plan, and execution, we come to the final step, which is publishing.  If you are writing an eBook, I recommend self-publishing.  If you’re doing both an eBook and a print book, then you have other ways you can go.  If you do that, you can go 4 different routes. 

First is traditional publishing.  You’ll need to compose a good query letter and book proposal.  You would then send those off to prospective agents.  Then the agent would find a publisher for your book.

The second route is self-publishing.  Especially with eBooks, you can come up with a PDF file that you can sell from your website.

The third route is using Kindle Direct Publishing.  I have no connection with them, other than the experience of having worked with them in the past.  They will allow you to publish a print book around the same time that you publish your eBook.

Another possible route is a hybrid publisher.  It has some of the best aspects of traditional and self-publishing.  They will offer you additional services, which you would have to pay for.  They may offer editing services, marketing services, or cover design.

You have the idea, you have the plan, and you have written the book.  Now get it published.  Since we’re talking about a non-fiction eBook, I recommend either self-publishing via a PDF file on your website, or through Kindle Direct Publishing.  You would then have it listed on Amazon.com

I hope this has been helpful.  If you’d like more information, please visit Randy’s Blogs.  If you would like a more in-depth explanation, go to Amazon.com and look for my newest book, “How to Write a Book in 28 Days Without Stressing Yourself to Death” by Randy Carney.

Have a wonderful day!

Writing Nonfiction PDF Books – A Great Way to Start

writing nonfiction ebooks

Here is another post on writing. Specifically, about writing nonfiction PDF books. They are a great way to get started! Even if you’ve never written a book before, you can do this. If you have a computer and the capability of saving your files as PDF files, you’re ready to go.

Do you have a real book?

Several years ago, many people did not consider eBooks, or PDF books, to be real books. Then Amazon developed this thing called “Kindle.”

Not long after that, eBooks increased in popularity and credibility. Actually, in some years, Amazon sells more digital books than print books. I don’t know the current statistics on that, but I remember a few years ago that the number of digital books (eBooks) exceeded the number of print books that were sold during that year through Amazon.

They Practically Became Equals

What that meant was, that eBooks increased in popularity and credibility. In effect, they became “equals” to print books. A print book was a real book, and an eBook was a real book too.

Give People What They WAnt

When people want a book, they want what they prefer. I actually like holding a book in my hands and being able to rifle through the pages. I have also bought many eBooks, and I really like those too. So, some people will want a print book, some will want an e book, and some will want both.

I Highly recommend you do both

Now, even though I’m talking here about using a PDF file to get started with your book, I really think that you should have the goal to do both. Because once you have your eBook written and set up, and you’ve learned how to format it yourself, you just have so much of what is needed to send the file off for a print on demand (POD) print book. So I think that you should have the goal of doing both.

The distribution won’t be as wide, but it is a place to start

The way to get started is to simply to produce a PDF book. Of course, if you have it set up only as a PDF book, your distribution will not be as wide as it would if it was available via Kindle, Mobi, or an ePub format, but you will still have a book and it will be a real book. It will be a book that you can sell right from your own website. Some of you reading this may already have your own websites. If you do, then you are good to go, and you can get started with your own PDF book

8-1/2 by 11 produces a real book

PDF stands for portable document format. It’s something that’s often used to send things through email, because the file is not as large as it is in other formats. It’s also easier to use. You can produce an eight and-a-half by eleven real book. That’s just the easiest way to do it. Use your preferred word processing platform, Microsoft Word, for example. You can then set it up as an eight and-a-half by eleven, and come up with your own cover page. Then, learn about other pages you need, copyright pages and such, by looking at other books. Be sure to add them.

be consistent with size and formatting

Then you can just produce an eight and-a-half by eleven real book. You need to be consistent with the size of the words in different parts of your book. You can make the title whatever size you want it to be; of course it will be larger than the chapter titles, headings, and subheadings. Then figure out what size you want and just be consistent. Use the same type of formatting and style for the chapter titles, and do the same for each type of heading every time. If you use subheadings, again, be consistent with the formatting and style.

So, the title of the book, chapter titles, headings and subheadings: Be sure you’re consistent with what you are doing so that they all look like.

next steps

Once you get all that done, and you’re satisfied with the book, what’s next? You may have hired an editor to look at your book and go over it for you. Maybe you had a writing group look it over, give you all the input that you need, and you’re satisfied, and you think you have a book.

Get your cover page on there. You can hire someone to produce a good cover for you, but you also can do some yourself. If this is your very first book, and you’re experimenting, you might want to produce your own cover.

get a way to accept payment

Now, you can sell it from your own website. Get a shopping cart of some type or go to PayPal where you can accept payments, and then sell your eBook. It is a real book, especially nowadays. So that’s one way of getting started in the self-publishing world.

basis for print books

Once you have all that done, go back to your word processing file, go over to Kindle or some platform like Lulu.com or48 hour books, (I don’t get any kickback for mentioning those names) read their instructions, and you will have what you need to have a print book produced also. Then you will have an e book, and a print book, and you definitely would have a real book then.

If you did it through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you certainly would have that book available on Amazon where people could find it. Some people say, “That’s another mark of having a real book, when it is on Amazon.”

So, here’s a nonfiction writing tip: writing nonfiction PDF books are a great way to start, especially if it’s a first book for you.

If you’ve watching this on YouTube, or in the link above, I encourage you to subscribe to my channel. There, you’ll be able to get more tips like these. Here on the blog post, you can go to the top of the page and click on the word “writing”, and you will find many many more tips.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

A Writing Solution from a Chainsaw

A writing solution from a chainsaw? Really?

Day before yesterday, I went out to use my chainsaw. I really like when I can start it back up several times during a work session.

I pulled on the starter rope six times. Then the saw uttered that familiar sound of actually starting and running for a second or two before it dies.

Then I gave it several more pulls, and it never offered to start again.

I tried putting the “on/off, run, and choke switch” in several position.

After that failure, I resorted to a YouTube search.

I found the problem. I had flooded the engine when I gave those extra pulls in the choke position.

The solution (and how I got it to work many other times, not knowing what I was doing)–When the saw offers to start the first time after a few pulls, immediately move the switch up one notch. Then it should start on the next pull.

They also showed a method for starting an already flooded engine, but it didn’t work that day.

Yesterday, I tried again. I pulled 5 or 6 times, and I heard what some call, “The Burp.” That’s when it runs for a second or two and then quits.

I moved the switch up one notch to the next position, and it started right away. I used it for several minutes until it died when I tried to let it idle.

Then, I couldn’t get it to start again.

So, I haven’t learned all the tricks, and there have been days in the past where I ran the saw for hours at a time.

Still, I know more than I did.

What is the writing solution? Like anything in life, keep learning and improving upon what you do know. You can do that by reading books, buying courses, investing in coaching, and, most of all, persistently and consistently working on your craft.

If you would like more detailed writing tips, click here.

Writing Nonfiction Articles – A Good Addition to Writing Your Books

When talking about writing nonfiction articles, we want to talk about where you can have these articles placed, the length of the articles, the research required, the structure, and the best places to put your articles.

Jill, heard the phone rang. She ran and answered it. She heard from an editor of a magazine that she had been hoping to write for. Then she woke up.

Wouldn’t it be good if you were to have a magazine editor call you and offer you an opportunity to write an article? Not only to write one article, but to write many short nonfiction articles, on any topics that you are passionate about, as many articles as you wish, with no chance of rejection! Well, that would be an even greater dream for Jill, and for us.

Where Can I Publish My Articles?

Let’s talk about where we can put articles. It can be in magazines, on websites, and they can some sections of newspapers.

How Long Should I Make My Articles?

What about the length of your articles? If you do some research on this, you will find one site says anywhere from 800 to 1000 words, while another site says 500 to 1500 words, and another one says 300 to 1000 plus So let’s just take the outside parameters of that and say 300 to 2000 words.

Considerations for Research

We also need to think about the research that’s involved. What kind of information do you need, and then how much information do you need? That will depend on how many words you’re shooting for. Where is the best possible place to get it?
Well, think about what you’ve ever read on this topic. Think about what you’ve ever thought about this topic – you have your own research. Think about what you have written. Then turn to outside sources.

Now, the internet has provided us a wonderful thing in being able to do a search on many different topics. So you can go do some online research. But whenever you do this, need to be a little more careful maybe then in the past on checking some of the sources for online articles or information. You may find three different places that say about the same thing, and you discover that they got all their information from the same place. So just be careful in checking out where you get your information when you’re verifying it.

Then you can talk to interesting people. If you know somebody who is an expert in the field or somebody that has experience in the area, you can interview them. Now you can even do that from a distance. You could do it over the phone or Skype or Zoom or some other online platform. Of course you could meet with them in person too.

Next, you’ll want to add some interest factors. These could be interesting facts that are related to your topic; maybe not directly related to what you’re writing about but you can throw in an interesting fact or two. You can start throw in some humorous items, that are related to your topic in general. Also, as I mentioned in the last post, you could add some stories that would illustrate your point.

So, we talked about where, and the length, and the research. Then you want to structure your article. It would have a beginning, a middle and an end.

The beginning you want to try to hook your reader, tell them why they need to read your article, and state the main point your article. In the middle, you will have more paragraphs that give more detail. Then at the end you tie it all together.

Where is the best place to put your articles? I mentioned magazines at the beginning. Those are still good, maybe harder, may not be as good as it used to be. Also newspaper. You could pitch an article to newspapers. Or, you could place them on a website. Probably the best website would be your own website, where you would have your own website and your own articles.

By placing these articles on your own website, you will be building a platform. Then when you get ready to write your book, you can pitch the idea to an agent who would contact a traditional publisher for you. One of the things they will be interested in is your platform. Do you have a platform and a following? One of the best places to build that is on your own website or own blog.

One of the reasons for having your own site or blog, building a platform of course. But think about it: You are in complete control of your writing; you own all of that content. You get to write on topics of your choice. You have no boss to answer to except yourself, you set your own hours, you can take off whenever you want, and you can write from anywhere.

I hope that you will consider writing nonfiction articles.I hope this has been helpful to you. If it has, and you’re reading this on my blog, and if you’d like more tips like these, then just go to the top of the page and click on the word “writing”, and you will find many articles about writing there. You can find the blog at www.randysblogs.com Please also check out my YouTube channel and subscribe for more great content.

How to Write Nonfiction | Turn Your Knowledge into Words

How to write nonfiction – Turn your knowledge into words that can be shared in books and articles. Your life has given you a lot of experiences. From those experiences, you have gained knowledge. That knowledge can help people, and that’s what you want your book to do. But how do you go about putting that knowledge into words?

Writing From Mountains to Molehills

Several years ago, I wrote a book called From Mountains to Molehills: Overcoming and Celebrating Your Differences in Marriage.

The process of writing this book was easier than it was for some of the others That was because I already had some chapters written from a previous book that was divided into six parts.

I later decided to revise the original book, but then I decided instead to write a series of six books. Each new book corresponded to one of the parts in the original book. So, I had several chapters that related to that content that was about “Overcoming.” I think there were probably about 40 or 50 pages that came from those chapters. To come up with the new book, I thought more about the topic. How could I expand it from about five chapters to anywhere from 12 to 20 chapters? The final product ended up being 14 chapters after I got it all put together.

Then I thought more about what I had covered in the chapters that were in the “overcoming” part of the original book. As I thought about that, I looked for the gaps. What else did I need to talk about on that topic? Then I did research.

Part of that research involved putting out a survey, and surveying other books that related to this topic. Then I went back and filled in the gaps, and outlined those other chapters. Having completed that research, I was able to finish the book.

After that, I was able to go in and put in some of my own personal touches. I added some personal stories out of our own lives. Then, as I recall, I made up some fictional stories in that particular book and put those in at the beginnings of the new chapters. They were stories of Ralph and Elizabeth. Of course, Ralph and Elizabeth were not people that I really knew, rather they were composites of people who were experiencing the things that I was talking about.

Brainstorm What You Know

First of all, brainstorm what you already know. Just get a piece of paper, and start writing down ideas on that piece of paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write as quickly as you can. After the timer goes off, set it again if the ideas are still flowing. Keep doing this until things slow down and you run out of ideas. At this point, things will not necessarily be in order. After that, one of the ways that you can handle that brainstorming and reorganizing would be to put little symbols beside the topics. For instance, sometimes I put a little box beside sentences or phrases that are similar. Next, I find another group of similar phrases or sentences, and I put a circle beside those to differentiate between them and those with the boxes. You can think of other symbols for that purpose. I remember using a triangle one time when I did that. I also remember using a 5-pointed star, and an asterisk. I was able to group those ideas together. So you use a process like that to brainstorm what you already know.

Look for the Gaps

Then, you try to find the gaps. Ask yourself, “Will this cover the topic? Will this give my audience the help that they really need?” Once you answer those questions, you can do further research.

Research for Info to Fill the Gaps

When you find the areas where the information is lacking, it’s time to research your topic. With that added information, you can come up with chapters to fill in the gaps.

Get the Rough Draft Done

The next step is the most important: Get the rough draft down, just get a draft down. In most cases, that will help.

Some people are really good at writing and editing the same day. If you do that, then you just need to have a word count for each day. Others do really well by just rough drafting each day until they’ve got the whole book done. Sometimes those people use a timer, and write those sections until the timer goes off. They have a time goal for the day instead of a word-count goal. Then they go back and do the editing and refining. Either way though, get the rough draft down.

In some of the coaching that I do, I help people with writing rough drafts of books. I have two different methods of fast writing that can be used. I also have two different methods of how they can “talk” their content out. They can utilize their phone, even do a live video like my “Walking with Randy” videos. They have an outline, and speak the book. There are two different methods for doing that, but going into more detail goes beyond the scope of this blog post.

So, you brainstorm, fill in the gaps, research, and get the rough draft down. After that, you make it even more interesting.

Add Your Personal Touches and Stories

Go in and add your own personal touches and stories. Now the stories don’t all have to be yours, they can be stories of other people (with their permission to tell their stories). But, tell your stories where you can. That adds the personal touch. You can also make up stories that are actually composites of people you know. That’s what I did in the case of Ralph and Elizabeth.

You have knowledge, and you have knowledge that will be helpful to other people. I hope that this blog post will help you to be able to turn your knowledge into written words.

So, how to write nonfiction-turn your knowledge into the words. Again, I hope this has been helpful to you.

I will remind you that you can go to Randy’s blogs.com to get more writing tips like these. If you are already on the blog, you can click on the “Writing” tab on this page.

You can also get videos like this on YouTube. I would even recommend that you subscribe to my YouTube channel to get a sample of more videos like these. if you are a subscriber, on a rainy day, you can binge watch the whole set!

Incidentally, if you are interested in the above mentioned, From Mountains to Molehills: Overcoming and Celebrating Your differences in Marriage you can find more info here.

Writing Nonfiction Narrative: How to Spice Up Your Helpful Information

Would you like to know how to get more people to read your helpful information?

John and Bill were mentioned in my last blog, Bill was having a problem with his Internet business. John saw a way that he could help his friend. He had very helpful information that he knew could help many people. But he could not get many to read it. Whenever he would go to his analytics, there were not nearly as many views of the articles as he would have wished. Then he tried some different things.

First of all, he started off telling, at the beginning his article, why the reader should read it.

Then he went to his analytics. He found that the number of views jumped up a little bit.

Then, whenever he told about why someone should read the article, he presented the problem. Then he agitated that problem a little bit before he gave the solution.

After he did that, he went to the analytics, and he was very hopeful. He clicked the button to look, but he was disappointed. Still, though, that result was better than what it was previously.

Then his friend John came along and gave him just one helpful suggestion. After implementing the one change, he kept clicking on his analytics report throughout the rest of the month. By the end of that time, he found his views had risen dramatically.

There was just one simple suggestion that caused that great result to come about. What was that suggestion? Here is the answer: John simply told Bill to add some stories.

We’re talking about writing nonfiction narrative Of course the word “narrative” is where the story-telling comes in.

What is A Narrative?

Let’s look at the definition of nonfiction narrative: It would be similar to historical fiction. Maybe in its truest sense, it would be one narrative that would go throughout the whole article, story, or book. There is another definition, though. That is, facts, told as a story, or facts that are illustrated by a story. That’s the one I’m focusing on. That’s the one that helped Bill’s views to jump dramatically.

You’ve probably discerned by now that Bill and John are composites of many different people, and yet these ideas are very true.

The Three Types of Narratives

In storytelling, you’re able to connect with your audience in a much better way. There are three types of narratives.

One of the first is to tell your own personal narrative.

The second one is to tell the experiences from your clients or your friends. You have to be careful with this one, though. If you have been engaged in confidential discussions, and you don’t have permission to use their names, then you must change the names and some other elements to present the facts, but to protect the innocent (or sometimes the guilty). Sometimes you will have permission to use other people’s stories.

The third kind of narrative will have fictional characters that are composites of many clients. They have true characteristics, and the facts, the things that are involved are true, but the character is a fictional character that has those true characteristics.

What Makes a Good Narrative?

What are some elements of good narrative. The first one has to do with the setting.
“They were standing in the desert. They had been there for several hours and the sun was going down. Though they’d been terribly hot, they had been told that the temperature would drop dramatically.”

There we are. We’re at the beginning of the setting for a good story. It helps you to identify with your audience. The setting should be similar to those to whom you’re writing. If you can involve the five senses in describing that setting, that helps create the image in the mind.

Then you want to introduce a main character. Since you’re doing these very short stories within the rest of your book, it’s best to focus on one character. However, you may have to introduce at least one more to have some type of conflict, setup, or to carry the story, but you focus on a single character.

When you introduce another character, you can make the story more interesting by including their dialogue.

Then you have the conflict. The conflict is related to the pain. It is related to the problem, and the problem can be agitated. It can be set up. The conflict, tells why there is a problem. It’s okay for things to repeatedly look like they’re going to succeed, and then fall apart. That makes for good fiction. So you have the conflict, you have the pain, you have the problem, and you have the tension and surprise.

At this point you can put in additional characters. Sometimes it’s man against nature. Sometimes it’s a person against a certain situation.

Then it builds to the climax. This is when the good finally triumphs. This is when the success finally overrules defeat. This is what this solution is. After that, you don’t really want to just cut it off abruptly. Sometimes you need to tie together the loose details,

The problem is solved. The satisfaction is there. This is where you dial it down a little bit, and perhaps you give a summary of the steps that were involved.

So those are some of the elements of putting stories within your nonfiction writing. Most of us like stories, and stories will keep us involved. Well, I hope that this has been helpful to you.

To recap, the elements of a good narrative are setting, character conflict, climax, and resolution.

If you’d like more writing tips like these, go to www.randycarney.com or www.randysblogscom. 

Click on the writing tab if you are already on the blog.

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How To Use Your Questions to Complete Your Amazing Writing Plan

Today, we are going to add “triggers” to your questions in order to help you complete your amazing writing plan. In previous sessions, I talked about how to come up with a writing plan for your book. I’ve called some of the special parts of the plan, “block parties”. Today we are going to see how to finish setting up block parties for each of your chapters.

What I talked about in the past, for a non-fiction book, was to come up with a list of 9-15 questions that are grouped with various headings. For fiction, you may just have 9-15 questions (with no headings) that are grouped in the best order. This is what to do with those questions to come up with a great writing plan.

Three Things to Put With Your Questions in Order to Complete Your Amazing Writing Plan

Begin by coming up with a list of trigger words or phrases. Look at the first question, come up with a list of three trigger words, or three phrases that would remind you of the answer to that question. Or it could be a combination of trigger words and phrases. You might have: trigger word, trigger phrase, and trigger word; or you might have: trigger phrase, trigger phrase, and trigger word. You might have some other combination, but you will end up with a list of three trigger words or phrases for each question.

Then when you get ready to write, you don’t have to worry about writer’s block; you just read the questions and look at your trigger words or phrases. Set your timer for five, six, or up to 10 minutes (whatever length allows you to consistently complete 250 words or 2/3 of a page), as I talked about in previous sessions, and press start. Then write as quickly as you can. This is how the creative side of your brain kicks in and helps you to produce a sparkling rough draft.

Now, this is just a rough draft. Later on, you will leave out some things, you will add some things, and you’ll revise some things. The point is, that you will have something that you can edit.

So, as you look at a plan to complete your book, the best way to do it is to have this writing plan set up ahead of time for all of the chapters. Usually you will have anywhere from 10 to 20 chapters. Once you have all of that data you are ready to write, and you’re good to go. Most of all, you’ll be reminded that writing is fun! You don’t have to worry about writer’s block because you have those trigger words or phrases to get you started.

Whenever I did this with my first book, I did it with just three words per question. (Sometimes, the trigger “word” was a combination of two actual words that fit together. For instance, if you needed to have a negative in there, like, “Don’t quit,” you might need both of those. I let those count as one trigger word.) But I just had three trigger “words” to remind me of the answers to each of my questions.

Three New Items to Put With Each Question as You Complete Your Amazing Writing Plan

More recently, I have used suggested trigger words or phrases. I find it much easier to think of the phrases. So here is my suggestion and what I’m going to do the next time I use this method. I’m going to have the question, and I’m going to have the list of three trigger words or phrases. Then I’m going to pick out three powerful trigger words: A powerful trigger word can be a sight, a sound, or something to do with the senses. It can be an action, or it can be a particular noun that fits the answer to your questions. (Some of your already written trigger words may fit these categories. If so, feel free to list them again for your power words.) Those three Powerful trigger words will be written right below my three trigger words or phrases.

When you start the writing process for these questions, try to incorporate those three powerful words or phrases into the first paragraph. That will kick in the creative writing process even more. I would recommend this expansion of my original idea for you.

Anatomy of A Chapter Writing Plan

So here’s what your chapter your writing plan would look like. You have the working title of your chapter. Then you have your list of questions, and those questions would be grouped with headings. Underneath each question, you’d have three trigger words or phrases. Under that, you would pick out three of the most powerful trigger words. This will help you add the finishing touches as you complete your amazing writing plan.

When you get ready to write, look at the question and fix in your mind the three trigger words or phrases that are the answer to the question. Then Look at the powerful trigger words. Start writing with a goal of using those power words as quickly as possible. I’m looking forward to trying that the next time I use this writing plan.

I can tell you this: Having such a plan is great. It helps prevent writer’s block, and it helps you to write on days when you feel inspired. On those days when you don’t feel inspired, this process is very, very helpful. Then later on when you go back and look at the end result, you will have trouble figuring out which days you felt inspired and which days you didn’t. At least, I often find that to be true.

Well I hope this will be helpful to you. If you use these tips, you will complete your amazing writing plan.

If you find these tips to be informative or inspiring, you can find more here. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel. If you put in a comment or a like, that will be helpful too. I also have a great course that puts all this together.

Would you like an example of how using these techniques to complete your amazing writing plan will work?

Try this little exercise: Write down a question. Below that, write three trigger words or phrases that remind you of the answer to the question. Right below that, write your thee powerful trigger words.

Now, don’t mull it over. If you have a timer, set it for five minutes. If you don’t have a timer, just look at your watch or a clock.

Now, without giving any more thought. Start writing as quickly as possible. Work in your power words ASAP. Then keep writing as fast as you can, including your other trigger words or phrases. Just keep going. Don’t think. Just write.

When the timer goes off or you see that five minutes are up. Stop!

Look at what you have written. How do you feel? Did it surprise you a little what you came up with?

This is how you can come up with a fun rough draft. Remember you can always edit later.

Please let us know, the results of this experiment for you. Just comment below.

Happy Writing!


Writing tips to use your questions to help you complete your amazing writing plan!

What to Do With Your List of Ideas – Planning Your Great Writing

Today we’re continuing to talk about planning your writing. During the first session, we talked about the need of coming up with a list of 12-18 chapter ideas. The second session in this series explained how to tighten those ideas by eliminating three of those items. So now you should have ended up with a list of 9 to 15 ideas. [Editor’s note: In the video, I talk about narrowing down to 12 ideas, but, actually it could go down to 9 ideas. In the written article, I correct this.] Now, what do you do with those 9 to 15 ideas?

I’m going to give you three optional things you can do, and two required things for planning your writing. When I say required, I mean they are required from the sense of using this quick-writing system.

Mind Map – Optional

The first one is, you can do a mind map. Now you may have already done that. However, after you have refined your list, you may want to do it again. It depends on how much you like mind maps. Mind maps are great tools for planning your writing.

At the center of your page, you write the topic or title of your chapter. Then you take your 9 to 15 ideas and run them out as strands, away from the center of the page, and that central idea. Draw a line out and put one of your 15 ideas there. Then write in another one that is related to that continued in a strand of thought. Draw another line up from that to the other one. You draw little circles around those, so it looks like cartoon thought bubbles.

Once that strand has run out, return to the center of the page. You draw another line out from the center, put another one of your ideas there; one that relates. After the first grouping of those, you continue that strand of thought. Keep doing that until you’ve used all of your ideas. This step is optional, but it would help clarify things in your mind.

Outline – Optional

Another optional thing to do, after you have made your mind map, is to reformulate it as an outline. Use Roman numerals for your major points, and letters or numbers for your sub-points.

Add Headings within Chapters – Optional

Here is another optional thing for planning your writing, but it is highly recommended. Put some headings within your chapters.

This is especially for nonfiction books. When we talk about fiction, then you don’t usually put the headings in. You would just want to have the order of your ideas, and they are arranged in the best way that fits your story.

Again, for nonfiction, this is optional, but I recommend you break up your chapter with some headings.

Now if you have done an outline. You have already figured out some likely content for headings because you have come up with some Roman numerals. Those more than likely would be your headings.

If you haven’t done the mind map and outline, and you just came up with your order of ideas, then look to see where you could insert some headings. Three to five would be a good number. But see what fits best in your mind with the topic of your chapter.

So we’ve got our three optional things: the mind map, the outline, and for nonfiction, it’s optional, but highly recommended, that you insert some headings.

Arranging Order – Required

Here’s what’s really necessary for using those 9 to 15 ideas. You need to arrange them in the best order. A mind map would help to clarify that somewhat because you had to group them together in strands of thoughts. You need to list these 9 to 15 ideas in the best order for you and for your reader.

Turn Ideas Into Questions – Required

After you have these 9 to 15 ideas, you’ve arranged them in the best order and possibly inserted some headings. The next thing for this system is to turn each of those ideas into a question.

Just put “who, what, when, where, why, or how” in front of your statement. Put a question mark at the end, and rearrange it to where it sounds right. You now have a list of 9 to 15 questions for each chapter of your book. If you had inserted headings, you would now have those headings sandwiched in between those questions at the appropriate places.

Remember when we talked about some secrets for writing? Getting your mind to get in gear? For instance, we said, write about cars. It may take you a while to think about that. But if you were to ask, “What kind of car do you have? What was your earliest car? What was the make of your earliest car? How did you like your earliest car? What kind of car do you have now? What color is your car?” you would find it much easier to write by answering questions.

When it comes time to write your chapters, you can just start writing by answering those questions. This is a great way to get away from writer’s block.

That’s the secret. Put those 9 to 15 items in the correct order, and then turn them into questions.

You can do that for fiction too. You will have a list, and it will probably be mostly composed of chronological events. You can turn those into questions. Then you will be ready to start writing.

I will have one more post following this strand of thought.

Today we’ve talked about what to do with your list of 9 to 15 items. To review: Optionally, you can do a mind map, form an outline, and (for nonfiction) add headings in between those ideas. Steps required for this method are: Put that list of 9 to 15 items in the correct order, and then, to really make this work, turn each of those ideas into a question.

So next time I post about writing, it will be telling you even more about how these questions can benefit you and get yourself triggered to write.

If you want more tips like these, check out more posts on my blog. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel. If you put in a comment or a like, that will be helpful too. I also have a great course that puts all this together.

Learn to Figure out What Kind of Book You Want to Write – Just Like a Pro

What Kind of a Book Do I Want?

Writing a book is something that over 80% of Americans would like to accomplish in their lifetimes. Yet, far less than five percent, maybe even less that one or two percent seem to actually accomplish their desire. That does not have to be you.

One of the most basic things you can do to write like a pro is to clarify what kind of book you want to write. There are several options from which to choose. Let’s begin by discussing three basic questions.

Question #1 – Fiction Or Nonfiction?

Do you want to write primarily fiction? Who doesn’t love a good thriller or a mystery? How about historical fiction?

Genres such as mystery, thriller, and romance are just a few of the options here. If fiction is your choice, you will want to learn about the “Hero’s Journey”. You will use a lot of elements of storytelling. The hero’s journey has been broken down to show elements that are often seen in three act plays. You can see these in movies and television shows as well.

Do you want to write primarily nonfiction? It may be a “how-to book”. It may be a descriptive book. It may be a book about history or some aspect of a religious text. You can still use many narrative elements. In fact, adding narrative elements will make your book with necessary information in it much more interesting for the reader.

What about Memoirs? Unless you are nationally famous already, the story of your life may be hard to market.

Here is a way to use your life story, or at least parts of that story in your nonfiction books. Intersperse your nonfiction book with all kinds of stories from your life. Interesting stories may help generate positive buzz about your work.

Question #2 – Digital Or Print?

Why would I even ask this?

A few years ago, the sales of digital books surpassed those of print books according to estimates of sales on Amazon.com. Those statistics were mainly for the years of 2011 and 2012.

Since then, the popularity of print books returned.

What that means for you as an aspiring author is that your first book does not have to be a lengthy book. An ebook may be the way for you to go as you wade your way into the process of being an author. An ebook may be much shorter than a print book. The additional appeal of “instant gratification” for the consumer makes the idea of an e-book a good choice for some authors.

Question #3 – Long Book Or Short Book?

I will just give some general observations at this time. At a later date, I will discuss this a little more.

Several years ago, a chapter was considered to be about ten pages long-the amount of time it takes to read one on your lunch break or right before going to sleep.

Just as a chapter was considered to be 10 pages long, an averaged-size book was considered to be about 200 pages long.

Research gave the following generalizations: Nonfiction – 200 pages; mystery – 280; novel 400-500. Ebooks – 25 pages-to the size of print books. (Some are even shorter, down to 8 pages.)

An ebook can be as long as a print book because it is a good idea to have your book in both print and digital form. If you are producing only an ebook, 25-100 pages is quite an acceptable length.

So, here are the big takeaways for every author:
Use these questions to figure out what kind of book you want:
Do I want fiction or nonfiction?
Do I want digital or print?
Do I want a long book or a short book?

The point here is that you can clarify what kind of book you want to write without having to be afraid of going about planning a book in the wrong way.

Now, if you’re an author who is genuinely interested in how to make this even easier, drop what you’re doing and check out my course on How to Write a Book in 28 Days or Less Without Stressing Yourself to Death! To find out more, Click Here.

With this tool, you can clarify what kind of book you want to write and write a good book swiftly… without having to be afraid of going about planning a book in the wrong way!

If you would like more writing tips like these, you can click on the “writing” tab above

Happy Writing!