Like everything else in life, the key to managing a daunting task is to break it into small, manageable chunks. But that is not the whole truth. There is another essential and symbiotically inseparable part of the equation: You need a plan.
If you are writing a book (novel, business book, textbook or any other publication), it has to be a detailed and structured content plan. When I work with business owners and speakers to start their book-writing journeys, I refer to this as a BookPlan (sometimes, a simple description trumps creative licence). For me, a business BookPlan must identify the potential reader, share valuable truths, give practical advice, and be driven by stories and personal connection. The telling of that story (the book’s content) must, in turn, be tempered with emotion, told through experiences and supported by an expert’s reassuring tones.
A BookPlan is not a light thing because a book is not a pamphlet or a piece of PDF clickbait. It should be structured, comprehensive, professional and laser-focused on delivering the author’s knowledge and intention. And here is the best thing about getting the BookPlan right. It makes writing your business book an easy process.
As easy as ABC… (well, EDIT to be precise)
Like the old saying about eating an elephant one bite at a time (although the very idea is despicable in the extreme), a daunting task becomes a process when you understand its component parts. My BookPlans are a professional, reader-centric marketing document built on an understanding of what the author is looking to achieve from writing their book. The content element of the plan includes chapter headings (these tend to be sentences, rather than titles, in the first instance) and bullet points or short paragraphs to describe the content of that chapter. My clients are usually experts in their subject, so the pointers become abbreviations and content guides about the information they readily know (as identified in our comprehensive planning day).
With that clarity in mind, all they then need to do is write. And here is the beauty of the process: 500 words a day is all the author needs to set their heart and mind to achieve. Simply set aside 90-minutes a day, 4-5 days per week (as fits in with your schedule), write 500 words, then stop. If you want to write a short business book of around 10,000 words, that means you arrive in a month; and if you’re going to write a full-size business book of 40,000 words, three or four months is all it takes. (Much more than that, and I suggest you write a novel.)
I know that might still sound daunting to some, but I promise you: If you start with a good BookPlan the writing becomes easy. And here is the method I teach to my clients. It’s all in the EDIT:
When you sit down to write, clear your head, look at the relevant bullet points in the BookPlan document, reread or study any supporting materials you need and write 500 words without stopping. (As a guide, at this point in this post, you have just read the 530th word.) Do not overthink what you write; just get in the moment and get the content out of your head, following my EDIT method:
- Engage: think about what you want to say / structure it / plan it from the start, middle and finish
- Draft: write in one go / don’t worry too much about spelling and grammar / let it flow…
- Ignore: walk away from it / do something else / 30 minutes (at least) I tend to wait until the next day
- Transform: go back and make your work more interesting and engaging / a few changes make all the difference (and a well-chosen right-click-synonyms works wonders)