Outlining Your Book for Best Results
The first time I sat down in front of my computer to write a book was in 2006. I had what I thought was a great idea for a book about how to run your life like a business. I had become more structured and disciplined in my life after coming online the previous year and began typing away on my keyboard. A few days and a few pages later I gave up. I stared at my computer screen and felt like a failure with this project. I was frustrated by how difficult this was, compared to what I thought the experience would be. No one had ever told me that outlining your book was the place to start. It would be three more years before I entertained the thought of becoming an author again.
What was I missing? The outline, of course!
Since that time I have created an outlining system that works for me. And these days, after penning almost twenty books of my own, co-authoring two others, compiling several books on various topics and contributing to many others by sharing my own expertise, and teaching scores of new authors how to write their non-fiction books in about six to eight weeks I have the process down to a combination of an art and a science, where everything comes together in a magical way. It is hard work, but as your story and the pages fly by you will think of it more as a joyous experience.
Outlining your book gives you the freedom to write your book. In one document, separate from the document for my manuscript you are able to organize your thoughts and ideas into a logical sequence that will unfold from beginning to end for your readers. It’s your “big picture” of the message you want to share in a non-fiction book and the story you wish to tell in a fiction tome.
I tend to write for an hour every morning, no matter if I’m working on a new book or another project for my online business. If I get stuck or feel like I’m losing the essence of what I wish to share with my readers, I go back to my outline. No matter what stops me, it’s always the outline that gets me moving in the right direction once again. It must be tight, meaning that it makes sense to me and flows well from section to section and chapter to chapter. An outline allows you to have one place where you have everything you want to say, in the order you want to say it, and it also reminds you of exactly where you are in your writing of the current manuscript. Every morning I know exactly where I am and simply take up from where I last left off. This is a joyous way to write, as well as being an effective use of your time.
Outlining your book is comparable to planning a road trip. Just as I did not simply jump in my car and drive over six thousand miles during my seventeen state road trip during the summer of 2016, I won’t ever again just begin writing a forty thousand or so word book. Neither should you. Moving progressively forward each day is the goal. You do not want detours, u-turns, or hazards. You do want a steady flow with clear skies and open roads. The choice is your when you create an outline.
As you can clearly see, having a plan in which to write and outlining your book is crucial to your success, even if your goal is not to write your book in a very short period of time. In fact, my next book will more than likely take me over a year to write, from my initial conception to my published book. It isn’t a contest and as long as you are moving forward that is all that counts.
Visualize your finished book. See it, touch it, hear people talking excitedly about it. This is a powerful method to make your goals and dreams come alive and I use it over and over in my own life to make everything more real long before it is physically manifested. Author and Thought Leader Nina Amir has an excellent post on why you need to be a visionary that I recommend you read in regards to what I have shared with you here.
What will your first, or next book be about?
I’m author and online marketing strategist Connie Ragen Green. I work with entrepreneurs to create multiple streams of online income and would love to connect with you. Download my Online Entrepreneur’s Blueprint and get started right away.