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Write Your Book

A guide by Terry W. Sprouse, Lincoln-holic, Public Speaker "Investor, Lincolnholic, Public Speaker" (Tucson, Arizona)

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Make an Outline

Start by making an outline. Once you have selected your book topic, you can brainstorm some general areas that you want to cover in the book. In the case of my real estate book, broad topics include subjects like why invest in real estate, how to by fix up properties, and the safest way to make money in real estate.

After you've brainstormed a list of topics, you can start grouping them into chapters. Underneath these big chapter topics, you can start devising more narrow topics to form your sub sections for each chapter.
For example, within a broad subject like ďwhy invest in real estateĒ would be topics like security in retirement, the advantage of real estate over stocks, why it is a low-risk investment, and so forth.

Once you have an outline set up, focus on writing text for each sub section until the book is completed. Donít worry about writing down all your sections at the beginning. If youíre like me, you will keep adding to the subtopics, and sometimes chapters, continuously as you write and think of new things to add.

I keep a folder for each chapter where I store everything that I may want to include in that particular chapter. I actually start the folder before I start writing the book, but I continue to add things to it throughout the entire book production process. In the folder I will include articles, quotations, jokes, and stories. I may not include them all in the final book, but at least everything is in one place where I can find it.

Use a ďSpecialĒ Notebook and ďSpecialĒ Pen

I prefer to do my first cut at writing the book text by writing in a spiral bound notebook. For me, itís more convenient than writing on the computer because I can write where ever I am, although usually I write early in the morning. When I am writing a book, my notebook is never far from me. Any ideas that pop into my head, I quickly jot them down so that I donít lose them.

In my notebook, the first few pages contain my outline, followed by text for each individual chapter or unit. I donít write sequentially, I usually write about a topic that I feel inspired to write about that day. Later on, when I have 20 or 30 pages of text, Iíll organize it into the chapters and sub topics of my outline and I transfer it to the computer.

I use a special pen that I only use for writing my book. Thereís something magic about having a special pen that you use only for writing your book. Buy one that feels good and creates a nice line. My pen goes everywhere my notebook goes. This way I am always ready to write.

Jot Down Quotes, Jokes and Potential Titles

In the back of my notebook, I keep a list of good quotes, jokes, anecdotes and any other text that I might later want to insert into my book. Iím also on the lookout for potential titles for my book. You may encounter these things at work, at the store, on the TV or radio, or while reading. When I hear a particularly good turn of phrase, or an interesting expression that might fit into the book, it gets recorded.

If I come across newspaper or internet articles related to my book topic that I want to keep, I place them into my back of my notebook.

Prioritize Your Life

Make the production of your book the top priority in your life. Everything else comes second. When you think about what you normally do throughout the day, you soon realize that everything you do is important on some level, yet not everything is a high priority.

The only way to get your book done is to make your book the highest priority in your life. What could be more important? What you are proposing to do is share some of your most valuable thoughts with others, to touch the hearts and lives of others. Itís time to go into training and gird yourself to climb one of the highest mountains of your life.

Find Unique Ways to Be Inspired

Author Jack London said,

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

Some people just take pen in hand, or sit before the computer, and write what comes to mind. For me, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesnít.
Another technique that I use is to write while I am supposed to be doing something else. Itís like when I try to be creative, I canít do it. But, when I am not supposed to be creative, my mind opens up like a blooming flower.
For example, I used to take my kids to their Tae Kwon Do classes. I would sit around an hour or so watching them. Then, one day I started bringing my notebook with me and wrote while I was watching. Iíd look up every once in awhile to see what they were doing, then go back to my writing. I really got a lot accomplished.

More recently, now my son is on the high school tennis team and I go to watch him practice in the afternoons. The same thing occurs when Iím supposed to be watching tennis practice, and I find that the ideas flow onto the paper. I look up every once in awhile so he doesnít think I am ignoring him, then I go right back to my writing.

I think whatís going on is what happens when someone tells you ďdonít think about that pimple on your face.Ē Naturally, you think about the pimple. When I tell myself to write, and I have no distractions, there is a dam blocking my flow of ideas. Yet, when I am focused on watching the tennis, I am distracted and donít think about setting up the dam.

I am also inspired to jot down notes in my notebook when I am doing normal daily activities, such as at church, when waiting to see the doctor, or when listening to a presentation.

Sometimes, when I am walking early in the morning with my dog, I write notes in a small notebook that I have in my shirt pocket. Walking around parks and schools, and away from cars and people, is conducive for me to get ideas. I just let my dog set her own leisurely pace and I follow her around, taking in the natural beauty of my surroundings.

Find what works for you. The key is to always have your notebook and pen with you.

Carve Out Your Niche: How to LIve Your Passion, Write Your Book, & Help Others Change Their WorldWrite It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author (Writing)How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks - All for FREE: Ebooksuccess4freeUnforgettable: Write Your Story21 Ways to Write & Publish Your Non-Fiction BookJust Write It: Step By Step Guide to Writing & Pubishing Your First BookBrewing Fine FictionThe Newbie's Guide to Publishing (Everything A Writer Needs To Know)Get Paid to Write! The No-Nonsense Guide to Freelance WritingWrite & Grow Rich: Using Voice-Recognition to Dictate Your How-To-BookDead On Writing (The How-To Book for the Dysfunctional in all of us)Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)Success: Your Path to a Successful BookWrite Is a Verb: Sit Down, Start Writing, No ExcusesThe Writer Within You: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing and Publishing in Your Retirement YearsWriting for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life

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Author

Terry W. Sprouse, Lincoln-holic, Public Speaker "Investor, Lincolnholic, Public Speaker" (Tucson, Arizona)
Qualifications: Author of "Carve Out Your Niche"
Last updated: 6/11/12
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