Are You an Authority Without a Book? Use These Tips to Plan Your Manuscript

Plan Your Manscript Book Outline

I meet a lot of professionals who say they need a book to get to the next level. They are experienced and accomplished experts, but without a book, they feel they lack the “authority” of others in their field. Get it? Author-ity.

The most common reason I have heard for why these professionals don’t write their books is that they don’t know where to start, and every time they take a stab at it, they feel overwhelmed. Or they feel like everyone else already said what they want to say, or they feel like they’re not a great writer. I’ve got great news if this sounds like you, because all of these problems are solvable. Plus, right now my book coaching and editing package is half-price, so you can start solving this problem today.

1. Choose Your Audience

Pick one ideal person, maybe a client or someone you know, or a hypothetical ideal reader, and think about what you want to tell her. When you know how old she is, how much she already knows on the topic, what you want her to take away from your book, and what you want her to do in response to your writing, you will be in a much better position to collect your thoughts and develop original content.

2. Brainstorm Topics

Don’t censor yourself, and spend time collecting these ideas. Form a list of threads of thought: information, stories, examples, and maybe pieces of writing you have already done or sources you know you want to include. During this process, keep your ideal reader in mind. If you feel like you don’t have enough ideas, ask yourself what else does she need to know, and what else does she need help with or find interesting that you can speak to?

3. Color Code by Topics

If you are on your computer, you can do this with the highlight feature, and if you are on paper, get a set of highlighters and assign each color to a thread of thought. Some ideas might fit into two places, and then you might see that two categories should become one, and if a topic doesn’t seem to fit into a larger section, consider whether that idea is important to your ideal reader. If it is, keep it, and if not, save it for another project.

4. Create Files and Organize

I like Evernote, but you can use Google Docs or plain old Word, but in whatever program you choose, create folders for each topic and files for each subtopic. I find that drafting is a lot easier if you do it in concise sections, rather than long documents. This will also allow you to organize any previous writing you might have done on some of the topics, and those will also be files in their respective folders.

5. Start a Writing Schedule

Marie Forleo says “If it’s not scheduled, it doesn’t get done,” and she is so right. Set aside whatever amount of time that makes sense for you, and discipline yourself to do the work regularly. (This is a short section, but maybe the most important one. You’ve got to plan to put your plan into action).

You might get this all done in one sitting, but most likely you will develop and refine your list over time, and it will change as you get started writing and see what you actually have to say within the topical files.

Next week I will give you an additional set of tips for writing your book. So set your schedule, and stay tuned.

I am so excited for you! Stop reading this blog and start finding your author-ity. I am here for you and offer my help at half price this month, so come find me if you want to know more about what I can do to help you write your book. Please comment below if you learned something or are putting one of my ideas into practice. Are you already an author? What tools did you use to get started?