How to write a book – the road map

How to write a book – the road map

Alice meets the Cheshire Cat

Remember Alice in Wonderland?  Alice, lost, comes across the Cheshire Cat:

“Excuse me sir,” Alice enquires, “could you tell me which road to take?” Wisely the cat asks, “Where are you going?” Somewhat dismayed, Alice responds, “Oh, I don’t know where I’m going sir.”

“Well,” replied the cat, “if you don’t know where you are going, it really doesn’t matter which road you take.”

As writers, we are often tempted to rush into our books.  Take a step back and look at the big picture and consider what your outcome is.  Instead of rushing into the doing, take a little time and plan your journey. Having a roadmap is not the key to publishing success, it is the key to making the book process easy and having a clearly defined destination will help you achieve your outcomes.

Habit 2: begin with the end in mind (Covey 2004)

Outcomes

The end is the outcome. To get the most out of any situation, you need to focus on the outcome that you want to achieve. When we know what the outcome (our vision) is, we can plan the journey.

Outcome (noun)

1.a final product or end result; consequence; issue.

2.a conclusion reached through a process of logical thinking.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/outcome

In the context of well formed outcomes, they are positive things and provide a sense of well-being and positive emotion. If the outcome is not positive, then I would question the value and validity of it. If it makes you feel unhappy, then change it.  We want to create a positive causal link to a positive end result.

The difference between where we are (current status) and where we want to be (the outcome) is what we do (action).

Roadmaps

Do you have any idea how you are going to get from ‘I’d like to write a book’ to ‘I am an author’?  Your roadmap, is simply a set of step by step instructions that will take you from A to outcome. We are all different, some people like to plan, whilst others dive in and just get on with it, with some vague idea that it will be all-right in the end.  For you planners, a road map is your project plan.

For some people, creating a plan is really easy, for some it’s like pulling hen’s teeth. Some plans are worth the effort, like getting your book written. So how do we make this as pleasurable as possible? Part of the problem is, we underestimate how long it will actually take us to do something. No matter how great a planner you are there will always be interruptions and diversions of some sort.

How you plan for the interruptions, will make all the difference.

Many people think planning is boring, and because you perceive it to be boring you may not even start, and if you do start, you may give up very easily. Other people love planning, and equally never reach their target, because they spend too much time planning and not doing.

Creating your roadmap

If you haven’t already, make a list of what you think are the steps that you need to get you to a published book.

Considering which activities are major milestones, thinking about what is missing for you and what activities are redundant. Remember that you can run some activities alongside each other and that some activities are tasks that you would outsource.  If you outsource you must manage these people carefully and set both yours and theirs expectations.

Rules

  • It’s yours, so make it work for you.
  • It can change over time.
  • Put dates next to each item so that you have a deadline to work to.
  • Highlight your major milestones
  • Identify your external resources.
  • Keep a track of what you have done, by dating these entries in your writing log.
  • Find someone to hold you accountable.

Manageable chunks

If having a long list is daunting, break it down into manageable chunks and mind map the steps. E.g.

pre book planningPre planning

  1. Decide you want to write a book.
  2. Determine what it is about.
  3. Work out who the reader will be.
  4. What are the competitors writing about?
  5. Consider how yours fits the gaps.
  6. Determine how you will use your book.
  7. Give it a working title.
  8. Write your initial book sales pitch.

Plan time

  1. Work out how you like to write.
  2. Decide on number of words.
  3. Calculate dates for first, second and final draft.
  4. Schedule time to write.
  5. Find the right place to write.
  6. Find the right time to write.
  7. Advise others to leave you alone.

The long how to write a book list

The list that follows is very simplistic.  Please use it as a basis for your own book road map.

The steps

  1. Decide you want to write a book.
  2. Determine what it is about.
  3. Work out who the reader will be.
  4. What are the competitors writing about?
  5. Consider how yours fits the gaps.
  6. Determine how you will use your book.
  7. Give it a working title.
  8. Write your initial book sales pitch.
  9. Work out how you like to write.
  10. Decide on number of words.
  11. Calculate dates for first, second and final draft.
  12. Schedule time to write.
  13. Find the right place to write.
  14. Find the right time to write.
  15. Advise others to leave you alone.
  16. Start writing.
  17. Find a writing buddy (to hold you accountable).
  18. Conduct research (interviews or other peoples).
  19. Determine what extra resources you might need.
  20. Calculate your budget for resources.
  21. Create a chapter plan.
  22. Download book template from Createspace or Lulu.
  23. Create style sheet (WORD).
  24. Write to end of chapter one (milestone).
  25. Review road map.
  26. Write your book proposal.
  27. Get to first draft (milestone).
  28. Edit.
  29. Reflect.
  30. Get to final second draft (milestone).
  31. Write your introduction.
  32. Review your book proposal.
  33. Give it a proper title.
  34. Write your blurb.
  35. Design the cover.
  36. Publish (Proof copy).
  37. Edit.
  38. Publish.
  39. Authors website.
  40. Marketing.
  41. Sleep.

When it comes to how to write a book, it is really worth all of the planning. Not only will you see your progress, but it will keep you on track. If the list looks long and daunting, simply break it up into sections and only look at those weeks tasks.  The key is to make the road map and then work out how you will make best use of it and how it can guide you in the most effective way.

And if you can’t bothered and just want to go with the flow, at least print this out and put it somewhere that you can see, just as a gentle reminder of what needs to be done.

What steps do you need to complete to get your book written and published?

Who can help you sanity check the steps?

Call me for your becoming a published author 30 minute session – 07862 260095 / Skype jacquim916

 

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