It’s been a long time since I wrote about my off-beat methods for writing, so I thought I’d share them here again with you.
From time to time I hear people saying they want to write a book, but just don’t know how to. This post is for those people who may be a little divergent as I am, and who panic when trying to follow the “normal” way of approaching writing a book.
If you need to follow the popular guidelines, then this post isn’t the place to come knocking! If you’re looking for an alternate method, I’ll share how I wrote 2 books and what I do to write most of my posts.
I really had no idea how to write a book when I started my first one, except for having a strong feeling that I needed to write one. The second book followed a similar trajectory to the first, except this time I knew I could actually do it.
Trying to write a book outline set off such terrible panic attacks, as did any other book writing method I read about, so I decided to just “wing it”, trust my gut, and just do it.
When I started writing my first book, I was terrified of saying it out loud. I didn’t know if I had it in me, much less the capability to finish it. I started writing down my ideas in teeny-tiny notebooks. I’d just jot down phrases and ideas which came to me. Once I had filled a few notebooks, I decided I needed to start typing up the random bits I had collected.
I really had no idea of how the book would be laid out, the chapters etc., but once I started typing up my notebooks, I saw how one phrase seemed to want to go with another, how paragraphs started to form, and how they even wanted to be reorganized.
It was a very organic process, and as I wrote, and re-read, I’d become inspired to add more, so gradually chapters started fleshing out.
It’s probably not a method many people would feel comfortable using, but it allowed me to simply write and not feel I couldn’t live up to the writing standards set out by many writing teachers. It allowed me the freedom of writing and not pre-editing myself. I wasn’t worried if an idea “fit” in with a chapter, for I knew I could give the manuscript the breathing space it needed to just grow and become what it needed to be.
I learned that it’s best to write everything down as I think of it, and then later edit and massage it into where it needs to go.
My phone later replaced those notebooks, as I could use the notes app and later email to myself what I had written down, to be able to copy/paste it into my manuscript. This on-the-go approach meant that even when I was away from my laptop, I could still capture thoughts as they came to me, and not despair that I’d lose them before I got home!
I used this method for my second book, as well as for the many posts I write and keep in draft format until I feel it is ready to launch.
Editing is mainly done towards the end of this process, as we want to encourage our subconscious mind to keep bubbling up the ideas and not shut it down pre-emptively by trying to perfect and fine-tune every sentence or thought.
Once you feel you’ve written all there is for a chapter or even the book, the editing and moving around process begins in earnest. This is when focusing on sentence construction, flow, possible redundancy, spelling, etc. gets honed. This is the nuts and bolts part of the process. I don’t recommend getting hung up on these things while the creative juices are actively flowing, there is time for that later!
Some authors swear by the Scrivner software, as it allows for clear chapter organization. I haven’t used this software but am thinking about how I might be able to adapt to it or it to my methods.
Ultimately my methods may or may not work for you, it will be your path of discovery to see what works best for you.
FORMATTING THE MANUSCRIPT and On-demand publishing
I chose to go with on-demand publishing, as finding a bricks and mortar publisher (or even an agent) who would take on a 1st-time author who a) wasn’t famous, b) didn’t have a huge fan base or social media following was mission impossible for me. I had an illustrated children’s book published years ago overseas, but the publisher never paid me a dime from the sales, and being overseas, I had no recourse. With that experience in mind, I realized there are no guarantees, either way.
I used KDP.com for my eBook, and now they have merged with CreateSpace, which is who I used for the paperback. I used ACX.com for the audio book, which is nice, since they are all owned by Amazon
I formatted my books in Microsoft Word. There are tutorials and templates on those sites for formatting and getting the manuscript ready to upload, so the process is much easier now!
Best of luck to you on this journey! Be prepared for the brain waking you up in the middle of the night to download thoughts, or even having to pull over to the side of the road to whip out the phone to jot down ideas that come up! Blessings on your journey!
I hope you’ll poke around my Archived Posts to find a wonderful trove of supportive and encouraging posts! Don’t forget to Like, Comment, and Follow my blog! If you want to become a Guest writer, please contact me and we’ll work out the details!
I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:
- 10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness
- Setting “Boundaries with consequences”
- Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”
- Affirmation: Today is a new day! I can do this!
- As we practice being gentle and kind with ourselves, we actually help to speed the process of helping our lives become more positive!
- Always believe that wonderful things can happen!
- A healthy outside starts from the inside!
- Brain Rewiring
More good stuff:
- Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves
- By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!
- Challenge: When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script!
- Red Ocean or Blue Ocean? How do you think?
- An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!
- My top 10 most viewed posts, plus a few bonuses!
- A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…
- Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?
- A new you! Is this possible?
- Start today, start tomorrow, just start!
- There is no enlightenment outside of daily life – Thich Nhat Hanh
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Guided Journals help you work on a particular issue by answering questions to help see patterns and to find solutions:
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