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How to Write a Book – The 10 Phases

You have finally decided that you want to write a book. You have determination, grit, and a laptop, but where do you start? If you plan carefully and then work through all of the steps that it takes to go from a blank page to thousands of written word, then you will be able to accomplish your goal!

1. Choose your topic

It should be something that you have a lot of knowledge about or that you can’t stop talking about. You are going to be thinking and talking about this topic for several months, maybe even years, so don’t choose a topic that you are going to be bored with in a few weeks.

2. Plan your book

The planning phase is important because it’s the road map that guides you through the original idea from start to finish. When you have a framework, it helps you to work through the writing process, fleshing out the details so that you won’t become bogged down later when you start writing your material. A solid plan will identify your target market, the reason you are writing the book, and the subject matter that you plan to cover.

3. Create an outline

This is an important phase of writing a book and will help you to reduce your writing time ten-fold. Using the outline you created in step two, you will divide each chapter into a conversation that you will have with one or two people. Next, you sit down with friends or colleagues and discuss each chapter. Identify what the important points are that you want to make in each chapter. How will you meet the emotional needs of your target market and address those in each chapter? Make notes as you move through the chapter or you won’t be able to recall the discussion. You may also consider recording the conversations. Next, transcribe the conversation and create a detailed outline from that conversation. All of the main points that you want to cover in your chapter should be in that transcript.

4. Make a plan

Set goals for yourself to write a certain amount by a certain time. Set out hours that you will work on each day and stick to them. Let’s say you plan to write for two hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and three hours on Saturday. Set out targets for your writing sessions and try to meet them. Word count goals can be difficult to reach, but make sure you reward yourself when you reach them by going out for a nice walk to stretch your legs.

5. Prepare your first draft

Now that you have created your outline and a plan with goals that you are determined to stick to, it’s time to start fleshing out the details. Work through your itemized list and find out if you will need any more data or information before you start writing. If you need to make certain points or set out some facts, you may need to do some research into that area so that your writing is accurate. Once you have located the information that you need, it can simply be inserted into the correct place contained in the outline. As you work through your outline, you will naturally encounter things that you would like to change, remove, add, or move around. You are free to do this, it’s your book and organization and rearrangement will only serve to make your draft better.

6. Write your first draft

Once you have your initial draft fleshed out, you can find a comfortable and quiet area and start going through your fleshed out and detailed outline. The material should all be fresh in your mind so you can work through every item you have listed in the outline without having to do any writing. Simply talk out loud into a recording device and get it down on tape. After you have done this, you can either have it transcribed or listen to it yourself and start typing it into a word processing program.

7. Edit your first draft

Now that you have completed the first draft of your book, it’s time to read through the whole book from start to finish. You want to check for flow, consistency and clarity. Do you find the material interesting? You will know right away when you reach a point that needs to be edited further. As you read through your own material, be sure to make notes of changes that you think need to be made. Make the changes or have someone else make them and complete your second draft as quickly as you can.

8. Off to the editor

At this point, many people are ready to send their book to an editor for review and a final check. An editor’s job is to review your material for flow, consistency and clarity (just as you did previously). Fresh and professional eyes can spot any glaring errors or omissions quickly and efficiently. If you can’t afford a professional editor, have a friend who is good at editing have a look at your draft.

9. Final review

As painful as it might be to you, you are going to have to read your material yet again. This is the final time that you will need to read through the material, and at this point you are probably quite sick and tired of what you have written. This is extremely common, so don’t worry, you are not alone. This is the time to make any necessary changes and finalize your work. The final review and editing phase does not take as long as the outline or drafting phases, but is a very important part of the process when you write a book.

10. Publish!

Many platforms allow people to self-publish these days, so it’s pretty easy to get your book published and out in front of your target market without too much expense. The roadblocks for publishing a book through commercial routes can be numerous and you may become discouraged quickly, so be prepared for this.

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