How to organize and write your nonfiction book, from start to first draft | Danielle Vincent | Skillshare

How to organize and write your nonfiction book, from start to first draft

Danielle Vincent, Author, entrepreneur, you-nicorn.

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7 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Coming up with the Book Concept

    • 3. Using 3x5 Cards to Organize your Thoughts

    • 4. Organizing the Book

    • 5. Actually Writing the Book

    • 6. Actually Writing the Book (yeah, there's more)

    • 7. Filling in the Gaps & Conclusion


About This Class

Course 1 in a four-part series, this course covers how to take your nonfiction book from vague concept to something that can actually be written, and then getting down to the work of writing it.

By the end of this course, you have a "zero draft" of your book - the ideas are all there, but it's not edited yet (that's Course 2).


1. Introduction: Well, hi there. Thank you so much for joining me for this little course on how to write your book. This part will cover how to actually write your book. That means the mechanics of coming up with the concept, deciding what the book is gonna be like and laying out the book using three by five cards than actually ordering the cards in a way that makes sense writing the book, which is actually a very important part of that process. And then we'll talk about kind of filling in the gaps. Now, this course is part of a bigger four part course. Siri's, uh, this is step one right in the book. The second step is editing and prepping for publication, and the third is actually publishing the book, and the fourth is marketing and selling the book. I believe that everybody who wants to write a book, whether it's fiction or non fiction convention if it from this course. But this is specifically based on my experience writing self help books. Um so nonfiction books is really probably what this works best for. All right, so let's get started 2. Coming up with the Book Concept: Hi there. Okay, so this is the part where we're actually coming up with the concept for your book. You might already have an idea this, but I do want you to write it down, and that's really important. I want you to think about who this book is for not just in terms of you, but who will enjoy reading this book. Do you have a friend who's at the particular point in this in their life? That would be helpful. Do you have someone like, maybe you're writing this book Because many people have asked you questions about this book for my book Unicorn. I knew that it was for people at a point of transition when people were trying to find themselves trying to figure out, you know, they were in a major transitional point. I wanted them to have something that was practical, that was friendly, that was approachable. And that also took no shit. Um, and kind of gave a subtle nudge and said, Hey, you have your excuses or you have your reasons. And so, you know, I want people to use this as a very practical handbook, and that really informed the language So when you're thinking about your book, don't think like in terms of marketing, you know, demographics 35 to 45 or whatever. Think in terms of where the person is in their life. What are they looking for? Are they looking for a heavy read? Are they gonna read reading this on vacation? Is this a scholarly book? Are they going to be reading it? Um, every evening before they go to bed. Are they waking up in doing this? I mean, when are they reading this book? Who is going to be reading it? Do you know a person who is This is particularly written for. And then also, where will you ultimately sell this book? This will inform a lot of publishing decisions later, but it will also inform something about how the book appears on the shelf and what it looks like. Are you gonna want to sell this in bookstores? Are you gonna want to sell this just to your friends or you going to sell it to a mass audience? Who doesn't understand who you are? In the greater context around this book, that's really important. So I think a little bit about your target market, your concept group who you're trying to reach with this or your individual person. My friend is my friend. Leon is actually writing a book about British history, and she is really excited if it gets in the hands of the 50 people who it's written for. My friend Sam actually wrote a architectural book about green architecture, uh, in the nineties, and it is one of the quintessential, most important books on green architecture that has ever been written. The place that it mostly ends up is on architect's bookshelves. It's a status symbol. It's a sign that somebody knows the important things to know about green architecture. So think about where you want your book to end up. All right, Cool. See in the next video. 3. Using 3x5 Cards to Organize your Thoughts: one of the most powerful tools in your writer's toolbox are these little bad boys. These are three by five cards, and they are terrific for writing down your ideas and taking notes that will leader help you be able to organize your thoughts and I'll give you a little bit of a run down on how I have used them. You can see I've got my chapter headings here on the front, and then I also include my notes on the back. And I include notes on the back because when I'm in the zone of writing these things out, I absolutely do not want to lose that lightning in a bottle that I have right. That kind of complete understanding of what I was thinking when I wrote down the card, for example, why you might not have cycles in the past is a card that I might look at when I'm writing the book later and go. What was I thinking? Why am I And but at the moment I know goals or bore angles or disappointing, and you can miss them and they don't allow for changing situations. So you feel locked in. I have a whole bunch of great reasons why you might not have hit your goals in the past. And those little notes are here now when I write this book later, which I'll show you. Uhm, I'm going to take this and take these notes and I will just flush them out. Which, as you can imagine, is a lot easier than writing a book from scratch. So you're basically taking these and then you will write your notes on them, write them. You don't have to write them in order you just write. The contents of the book generally were skidding down the dirt trail of writing this book. At this point, these air just general notes. And then I'll show you in a second how to lay them out on a table, reorganized them and kind of organize your book. Basically, I mean, this is so this is so awesome. I'm so proud of you for doing This is a huge step. And yes, so we'll go next to the next stage and will organize your book 4. Organizing the Book: Okay, so we've got our cards all written out. We've just written out the chapter title or what we kind of envision the content will be about. It doesn't really have to be in chapter sections at this point. You'll work that all out later. Um and then you have your notes on the back. What you want to do is you want to take these and put them on the table, Really? Just spread them out. And like, for example, this one says potential. And then, uh, then I talk about the context of what that particular card is. So you lay it out and what we're going to do with this little exercise this fun exercise is we are going to organize our book and really look for all the cards, and we're going to lay out some of them out, and then we'll stop because I want to keep this brief. But once you that all of your cards laid out on the table as you can imagine, then you're going to sort them in terms of things that go together. So you just basically look at, like, the power of intention and the power of your mind. Go with ease. The You're the master master of your fate, captain of your soul, creating the world, Things that happen that goes over here. I'd say that after the power of your mind. So you get the idea. You kind of put these in order Of what? Of a logical order that they will go in your book eventually. 5. Actually Writing the Book: Oh, hot. Okay, so I bet you're wondering what we're doing now. We're actually writing the book. This is the hardest part of doing this. But because you have your outline and have your three by five cards, it will be a lot easier all you want to do. You don't have to worry about whether these air chapters or not. They're just concepts at this point and all. And your writer, you can write about a concept, right? So this card represents the power of intention. You just write a chapter header and you read your notes. Written goals put the power of intention to work for you were using the particular activating system and you'll see opportunities and be inclined to go for them. So this is I remember what this is about. This is about specifically something that is, um, kind of a woo concept, but it's backed up by science. The particular activating system is a part of your brain and, you know, evaluates opportunities. But in addition to that, I think that when you write down your goals, you're more inclined to go for things that are in support of those goals and that actually the real magic that's happening here. So I'm gonna go ahead and get that right written and it's probably gonna be about two pages and that's OK. And then once it's done up with that over here and I will work on the next card and if I don't want to work on the next card, then I will put this card back in the deck and I will put a little bracketed thing here in the manuscript that says insert goals in the power of mind work. No matter what you put to them to work on, this is a terrible chapter header. And I'm so glad that I came across this card. Um, if you fall focus on negative things, they will come to you. Oh, I see. Sure, Sure, Sure, this is. Ah, this is this is kind of a law of attraction thing. I'm sure you're familiar with it. And I might or might not want to include this in the final book, but I am gonna have the idea and the idea is gonna make it into the book. But I'm not ready to work on that idea quite yet, So I am going back to this next one. All right, so and that is how to actually get all of the concepts done. You have quite a stack of cards here. This might take you a little while. So instead of actually doing this right this minute, I recommend that you go on to the next video so that you know that you can actually make it through this part, right? 6. Actually Writing the Book (yeah, there's more): Oh, hey again. So this is the part that takes a really, really long time. And lots of people have different ideas about how a person should write a book, whether they should do it in one huge fell swoop over the course of, you know, a sequestered a few weeks or whether you should do it a little bit at a time every single day. Stephen King says that you should just do it a little bit of the time every day. There are many authors who go about things that way. And I did that. I did write an actual whole book, a meeting, a quota of words every single day, and the book was terrible. So, um, we actually mostly scrap the whole thing, and it's now living in a junk pile, waiting to be revised once I finish this next book. So I've found that for me writing and, uh, you know, really, really just pouring all this stuff out is best if I do it over several weekends. So I just sit there and I grind it out for like, nine hours a day, as really as long as I can stand it, and then about three hours. Beyond that, um, I don't eat. I barely leave the desk to go to the bathroom. Uh, do. That's an important note. Um, and I basically just sit wherever I consider it and just type just work on cars one after another and get, you know, grind it out. Um, so that doesn't work For some people, the important thing is to know yourself and to get the damn book done. Because the writing it's not gonna happen. Like the book is not gonna be written if you don't write it. So you got a freakin write it. And whether that means that you do it in the morning. You know, between four o'clock in the morning and six clock in the morning before the kids wake up, then you do it. Then if it means that you go off to a little cabin in Montana and spend three months, they're just ripping your hair out and freaking out, pacing the floor and looking out the window moodily and getting the book down there. Do that. If you need to rent an Airbnb in a different country, go do that. Whatever needs to happen, you just need to write the damn book. It really comes down to you. Got to write the damn book. Okay, So however you need to get it done. I have in here actually writing the book, Plodding along versus Firestorm. It is totally up to you. But the important thing is that you write the damn book. 7. Filling in the Gaps & Conclusion: Okay, so I'm actually back at my desk now. Um, and I am filling in the gaps. This is the part of the book where you've written your first draft. You've written kind of dropped zero, and it's gritty, It's rough. And there's probably a lot of places, at least for me when I'm rushing through, and I just you know, I can't write one part of it or something like that. So I put a little bracket but says, uh, Post about, you know, senses about this nous to come. And I do that quite often because I'm on a roll and I'm just doing the thing. And I don't wanna pause for that one little bit. So But that's important, isn't it? It's kind of an important part of the book, right? So now is the time. Once you've finished your first draft zero, you want to really go in there and kind of spackle, and you don't need to, you know, start editing your stuff quite yet. Just go in, do it, find for an open bracket and then just start building in those little gaps. All right, so in the next step, we will go ahead and go to editing. And that is the next course of this. So see you in the entire next chapter. You are so amazing. You have written your damn book. All right, so seeing the next chapter