Your non fiction book – Stepping out your chapter outline

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A.A. Milne

Stepping out your chapter outline

[Tweet “Stepping out your outline will get you intuitively connected to the real content of your book”]

This is a walking, using your intuition and making sense process, which will enable you to get to the heart of your chapter outlines. I devised this method based on some NLP timeline work that I had done. This is a great way to find the flow in your book.

[pullquote align=”normal”]This works because you slow it down, connect to the deepest part of you and just allow your unconscious mind to reveal your book to you. [/pullquote]

Get outside and find a beautiful space where you will not get interrupted. Or find some floor space at home and get a number of A4 sheets of paper (10 to 12 will be perfect), a voice recorder (use the one on your phone) and if possible a friend or partner, use them to ask you questions about each chapter

  • What is this chapter about?
  • Why is it important for my reader to know this?
  • How can they do the same, or what exercises can I share?
  • What if – what are the benefits of following the advice in this chapter, or the consequences of not ?

If you don’t have anyone to help, memorise the questions and ask yourself.

Use the voice recorder; it is invaluable for remembering everything you say.

Discovering your book outline

  • Find your space
  • Fix your eyes on a spot in the distance – that is your published book
  • Imagine the chapters in front of you or put down your 10 – 12 pieces of A4 paper
  • Deep breath and get ready to rock
  • Turn on your voice recorder, make sure you have enough space to record
  • Step on to the first chapter and say the chapter title – no thinking just say it
  • Ask your questions or ask your partner to ask the questions
  • As you step onto each chapter, pause to reflect and to get a feeling, sense or image of what the chapter might be about
  • Using the voice recorder talk out loud about what the chapter is about. Remember to ask the what, why, how and what if questions
  • As you step onto the next chapter consider if and how they logically flow into each other. Can you feel the connection? Make a note of any connecting words or ideas. Speak them aloud
  • When you get to the end, look back and review the flow of your chapters and keep amending until they really resonate
  • Walk around looking at them, getting a bird’s eye view

Making sense of your step it out exercise

  • Listen back several times and make notes
  • Either plan it out with post-its or use a mindmapping tool. If neither of these feel right maybe use a spreadsheet and make a list
  • Keep reviewing your chapter outlines until everything looks and/or feels right and makes sense
  • When you are happy, put anything that does not seem to fit to one side. (Keep what you have discarded, they may prove useful)
  • Do a final chapter review. You may want to change titles as you go along
  • Take a day off to reflect
  • When you come back, review what you have written and step it out again. Fully engage your senses and, as you step from chapter to chapter, think about what the chapter is about and try to get a feel for it. If you find it difficult to feel, then use another way (seeing, hearing, thinking) to make sense of what the chapter is about. Remember to turn on your voice recorder again to gather any new information
  • When you are happy that you have it (for now), do a brief write up of each chapter

You are now ready to bring your outline to life.

This video is taken from my course ‘Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend‘.

If you want more help

Take a course: Get Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend online course (pop in AFA50 to get your discount)

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Plan your non fiction book

 

Plan your non fiction book in a weekend has been designed to help you to be able to undertake all of the vital planning tasks that make writing a book – simple and stress free

Each day to help you create your book, I am going to answer these essential planning questions:-

  • What kind of planner am I and why is this important to know?
  • What tools and resources do I need?
  • What is the process and cost of writing and publishing a book?
  • How long will it take me?
  • How do I get ideas for my book?
  • How do I choose the ONE big idea for my book?
  • What is an outline and how do I create one?
  • How can I structure my chapters?
  • How do I create and use a book proposal?

Have loads of fun and do share what you have been up to.

Plan your non fiction book #27 – Creating a chapter outline by walking it out

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A.A. Milne

Walking / stepping out your chapter outline

[Tweet “Walking and stepping out your outline will get you really connected to the real content of your book”]

This is a walking, using your intuition and making sense process, which will really help cement your chapter outlines. I devised this method based on some NLP timeline work that I had done. It struck me that all books are already written and to gain access to the ‘true’ content, that we needed a way to let it flow.

This works because you slow it down and connect to the deepest part of you and just allow your unconscious mind to reveal your book to you.

Get a number of A4 sheets of paper (10 to 12 will be perfect), post-it’s, coloured pens ad a voice recorder (use the one on your phone). If you have a friend or partner, use them to ask you questions about each chapter

  • What is this chapter about?
  • Why is it important for my reader to know this?
  • How can they do the same, or what exercises can I share?
  • What if – what are the benefits of following the advice in this chapter, or the consequences of not ?

and to do the writing for you. The writing helps you and your partner to remember key points. Otherwise, ask yourself these questions.

Use the voice recorder; it is invaluable for remembering everything you say. Find somewhere quiet to work and some floor space.

Discovering your book outline

  • Turn on your voice recorder, make sure you have enough space to record
  • Using one sheet of paper per chapter, write down the first possible title. Don’t worry if it does not look right, just write it down, quickly and without much thought
  • When you have done that, start laying the other A4 sheets out on the floor
  • Either lay them in a straight line or in a circle
  • As you step onto each sheet, pause to reflect and to get a feeling, sense or image of what the chapter might be about. Give each sheet a chapter title (do not write chapter numbers on them)
  • Using post-it notes, jot down any words or ideas that come to mind and place these onto that chapter page
  • Using the voice recorder talk out loud about the notes you have made and what the chapter is about. Remember to ask yourself the what, why, how and what if questions
  • As you step onto the next chapter consider if and how they logically flow into each other. Can you feel the connection? Make a note of any connecting words or ideas. Speak them aloud
  • When you get to the end, look back and review the flow of your chapters and keep amending until they really resonate
  • Walk around looking at them, getting a bird’s eye view
  • Keep changing them around until everything looks and/or feels right and makes sense
  • When you are happy, put anything that does not seem to fit to one side. (Keep what you have discarded, they may prove useful)
  • Do a final layout of chapters. You may want to change titles as you go along
  • Leave your chapters on the floor for an hour or two (better still a day) so that you can reflect
  • When you come back to them, Step it out again. Fully engage your senses and, as you step from sheet to sheet, think about what the chapter is about and try to get a feel for it. If you find it difficult to feel, then use another way (seeing, hearing, thinking) to make sense of what the chapter is about. Remember to turn on your voice recorder again
  • When you are happy that you have it (for now), gather them up and file them away in your book bible (a folder with everything you need for your book)

You are now ready to bring your outline to life.

This video is taken from my course ‘Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend‘.

To unlock your course special offer – share the love

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Plan Your Non-Fiction Book in a weekend (2)Course special offer – click the link

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Get your copy on Amazon

Plan your non fiction book
Plan your non fiction book

 

Plan your non fiction book in a weekend has been designed to help you to be able to undertake all of the vital planning tasks that make writing a book – simple and stress free

Each day to help you create your book, I am going to answer these essential planning questions:-

  • What kind of planner am I and why is this important to know?
  • What tools and resources do I need?
  • What is the process and cost of writing and publishing a book?
  • How long will it take me?
  • How do I get ideas for my book?
  • How do I choose the ONE big idea for my book?
  • What is an outline and how do I create one?
  • How can I structure my chapters?
  • How do I create and use a book proposal?

Plan your non fiction book #26 – Creating a chapter outline

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A.A. Milne

What is a chapter outline and what are the steps?

[Tweet “Good books don’t just happen, they are designed, or should I say, outlined.”]

Outlining chapters give us a clear structure, a pathway from one chapter to the next, and provides direction, helps to connect each chapter to the overall theme and helps to answer questions that our reader may have. Most importantly, it makes your book easier and faster to write. There are several ways to get to the outline, my favourite is ‘Step it out’, followed by mind mapping. Today we will look at a step by step approach to outlining.

This video is taken from my course ‘Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend‘.

To unlock your course special offer – share the love

[sociallocker]

Plan Your Non-Fiction Book in a weekend (2)Course special offer – click the link

[/sociallocker]

Get your copy on Amazon

Plan your non fiction book
Plan your non fiction book

 

Plan your non fiction book in a weekend has been designed to help you to be able to undertake all of the vital planning tasks that make writing a book – simple and stress free

Each day to help you create your book, I am going to answer these essential planning questions:-

  • What kind of planner am I and why is this important to know?
  • What tools and resources do I need?
  • What is the process and cost of writing and publishing a book?
  • How long will it take me?
  • How do I get ideas for my book?
  • How do I choose the ONE big idea for my book?
  • What is an outline and how do I create one?
  • How can I structure my chapters?
  • How do I create and use a book proposal?

Organising and repurposing your content and knowledge

Organising and repurposing your content for your book or online course, is a great way to efficiently use content that you already have. Often we forget that we have this ‘stuff’. I bet if you start to look you will be amazed at what content you discover.

The knowledge challenge

We all know a lot, however, knowing what we know can be a challenge.  Plus some of what we know is already articulated and some remains in our heads, its stuff that we just know and do on an unconscious level and for the purpose of our book needs documenting. In a ‘knowledge management’ environment the things that have been articulated are called explicit knowledge and those that are in our heads are called tacit knowledge.

For your book (and course), you may be thinking of leveraging existing articulated content (explicit), existing unarticulated content (tacit) and formulating new content from your thinking and research.

The knowledge formula

To make sense of our knowledge we need to locate it and create a map of where it is and how to access it. To do that we start with the knowledge formula.

Knowledge = Knowledge (explicit) + Knowledge (tacit)

Explicit = you can touch and feel it because it has already been expressed – you can lick it.

Tacit = it’s in your head, it is your unconscious competence (you just do it without thinking).

To make the formula work we need to gather together what we know we have, along with the stuff we know but don’t always know that we know, or even know how to articulate to others and therein lies the knowledge challenge. Confusing isn’t it?

The knowledge challenge and the unconscious competence model

The learning model unconscious competence explains what stages we go through to acquire new knowledge.

 Unconscious comptence

Unconscious incompetence model

Unconscious Incompetence – You don’t know what you don’t know, be kind to yourself.

Conscious Incompetence – Give yourself plenty of space, time and encouragement.  It will get better.

Conscious Competence – Stay focused and keep practising.

Unconscious Competence – Well done. Remember how tough it was to get here, stay on track and try not to get complacent.

One way to understand how this works is this.

Stop and think about how you might make a cup of tea.  Now write all of the steps down and then teach someone else what you do.  Easy?  Now find a subject that you are an expert in, try it again.  Still easy?

Think it through, walk it through, break it down into chunks, map it out and test. Keep refining and changing your processes until they work for you.

Understanding this model will also help you when it comes to outlining your book and establishing flow and trying to get your points across.

Keeping a track of your knowledge for your repurposing your content strategy

If you haven’t already done so, create a master spreadsheet of your knowledge / content – create columns, such as:-

  • Category (chapter or Book and chapter)
  • What it is (blog, report, video, presentation)
  • Type (facts, concepts, procedures, know how)
  • Where it is?
  • Explicit or tacit?
  • How you will use it?
  • What questions will this answer?
  • Research needed?

Discovering your knowledge with a knowledge audit

Go and find your content / knowledge and list it in your spreadsheet, then specify if it is explicit or tacit. After you have made you list the next step is to pull it together in some kind of a system, be that something electronic like a file folder or Evernote or by putting it into a document folder or a combination.

Your tacit column will tell you what you have to find a way to articulate it, and possibly undertake some research.

Organising your content with a knowledge Map

A knowledge map is useful for organising related information in a structured manner that facilitates comprehension by showing the connections between the information pieces. In your spreadsheet this is the category, how you will (re)use it and what questions does it answer?.

E.g. think of your book outline, you could organise your ‘stuff’ by chapter and in doing so you can see a logical flow and know how it will address your readers needs.

When you know what you have, you can plan how you will use it.

What is re-purposed content?

In simple terms, it is taking what you have and reusing it in a way that fits the new purpose – repurposing your content. E.g. The content you have pulled together from blogs and articles can be reused as part of your book and vice versa what you write for your book can be reused for blogs, videos, tweets etc.

If you are an entrepreneur you will probably have enough material on your blog to write many books. If you are an author you already have masses of content with which to create your online course.

When you are collecting your knowledge and content think of all the ways, not just as a book you can use it. Identify your reuse purpose in your spreadsheet.

Being critical about your content

Undertaking the organisation of your knowledge and content is a brilliant way to keep on top of the content for a book, but it is really important that you also know how that content fits with a) your book (and course) and b) fulfils a need for your reader. In other words, don’t reuse it if it doesn’t fit, hence the category and what questions does this answer. And be tough!

Do not throw anything away

Keep it all, even if it doesn’t seem to be useful right now, you never know!

Which book

Once you have all of your knowledge and content mapped out, you will be able to see if you have one or many books and stuff for blogs etc.

What is your repurposing your content plan?

Book in for an open book surgery call – you can ask anything to do with planning and writing your book, blogging your book and turning it into a course.

 

Writing a book – creating a book outline

Writing a book  – Creating a book outline

Need to get your writing organised?  A book outline is a must

In simple terms a book outline is the big picture, the plan you do before you get down to the detail of what each chapter is about.

Outline and Flow

To connect the dots we use the outline planner which enables you to “feel the flow” of the books plot and story and helps you to think of what the purpose of each chapter is.

Here’s what I do:-

  • Get a big sheet of paper or a blank wall, lots of post it’s and brainstorm
  • Move your post its around until it looks and feels right, if you need to talk it through with anyone now is a good time, then
  • Write each chapter title on a separate piece of paper.
  • Lay these on the floor in order and walk (physically) through the flow of the book, stopping at each chapter and getting a feel for the plot, try to feel, hear and see what your intended reader will.  Check that it makes sense, that it follows the plot line.
  • On the second time along the chapter outline timeline, use post it notes and brainstorm ideas
  • Once you get an idea of what each chapter is about.  Work out how each chapter links to the next one.

You now have the essence and a big picture of your book.

Your action plan – creating a book outline

  • Create your chapter outline
  • Reflect for a day or two
  • Amend
  • Write a summary of what that chapter is about
  • Write your action plan for completing each chapter
  • Update your book proposal (when you are happy with your ideas and content – you may of course change them again…)

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

When we work together one to one, your book outline will be nailed before you start to write, after which writing is so much easier.