If you’re a speaker, business trainer, consultant or any other kind of expert you’ll almost certainly have considered writing a book at some point.  So what’s stopped you so far?

I blew a few excuses out of the water in the last blog I wrote about writing books, but I do understand that getting started is like standing at the foot of Everest all alone with no equipment and wondering how you will ever get to the top.

I’ve written more than a few books myself and I know that having a writing plan and a structure is essential.

Not everyone finds writing easy and I’ve worked with clients in a number of ways:

  • Editing what they’ve already written
  • Coaching them through the writing process
  • Using material they’ve written for blogs, articles, training programmes, webinars, etc. over the years to develop into a book
  • Helping an author to develop their plan and then having them talk through it while I take notes to develop
  • Ghost writing the book from interviews

Clearly, everyone is different and, of course, there is a cost implication depending on the ratio of your time and mine in the process.  So, if you want to make a good start at getting your thoughts on paper here are the steps I recommend:

  1. Brainstorm the topics you want to cover (I use mind mapping – but any method you feel comfortable with is fine).
  2. Organise the topics into a logical order.
  3. Expand each topic into a chapter by adding examples, case studies, anecdotes, theoretical models, quotations and references to be included. This will be your chapter outline.
  4. Look at your chapter contents and see if there is a structure that makes sense – e.g. will each chapter start with a quotation? Will every chapter have a case study?  Will chapters end with a summary or an action plan?  This is what I call a chapter ‘recipe’ and every chapter should follow the same kind of structure to make reading easier,
  5. Schedule time in your diary for writing each chapter and stick to it.
  6. Take each chapter in turn and, following your chapter recipe, work through your chapter outline, fitting it into the recipe format writing your commentary around the elements you’ve chosen to include.
  7. Write your book’s introduction, cover blurb, acknowledgments, etc last.

When you’ve followed this step-by-step process you will have a book ready for editing – and, ultimately, publishing!