Writing Techniques

I talked about writing a book for more than two years but it was when I approached an event planner in Sacramento to be one of his keynote speakers that I had to face the challenge.

He agreed my working with entrepreneurs for ten years at that time (2000) was noteworthy enough to be one of his speakers but wouldn’t have a speaker unless they had a book.

That was January 15th and the event was June 3rd. So of course I said “No problem!” I’ll have the book!

How hard could it be? I’d been talking to entrepreneurs for ten plus years and I had a great track record with them. I knew what they needed to be more successful and I had developed several programs to help them get to their desired success level faster than they thought possible.

So I sat down that Saturday morning and sorted out my seven years of newsletters. What had I said that had the flavor of being astute wisdom? What concepts did I cover and how could I create a book out of all the concepts.

About six hours later, I had the makings of a fairly solid outline to follow and the newsletters I had written to guide me. It couldn’t be that hard.
I backed out the time I had and gave myself 3 1/2 months to write and the month of May for editing. I lined up an editor in Oakland who I had met in a networking group. I had a graphic artist in my Elite Leads group so I had Alice work on taking my business card design and recreating a book cover. Book covers can be a major challenge so I was very pleased with how easily Alice created the book cover and I loved it.
The average book is 200 pages, 20 pages prior to the first chapter and about 10 reference pages at the end. That left 170 pages to write in 90 days or less than 2 pages a day and with being able to write 4 pages an hour I could write an hour a day and have time to do the fist edit as well.

I always recommend authors write for 90-120 minutes non stop and never read what you’re writing until you’re done with that. The pitfall most authors fall into is they keep editing what they’re writing making it better each time, but never finishing their work.

I had written 72 pages and fortunately printed them out to edit away from the computer (it’s much easier for me to edit the printed form) when my computer got a virus and crashed and everything on my hard drive was wiped out.

Already into my second month, I now had to re-type the book, which was easier than writing it in the first place and much faster too! I also decided to reformat the book to the then standard 5 x 8 size. So instead of 72 pages it became 88 pages. That was a bonus.

I sent the chapters to the editor as soon as I had read them at least three times and incorporated about 50% of the changes she recommended. It’s important to remember it is your book and your voice. If you don’t speak the Queen’s English and the editor does, you will never match your manuscript by incorporating their proper English structure. There is a fine line however, you want the book to appeal to those who are intelligent enough to want to read your book.

Miraculously I picked up Mixing it UP! The Entrepreneur’s New Testament from the bindery on the way to the speaking engagement in Sacramento. Whew!

I started my second book on November 14th because I had a speaking engagement on December 9th. I took the basic outline from a series I had done and I pulled it off, writing and editing the book in three weeks and getting it printed and bound as well.
What I learned from that experience is it was much easier for me to write a book from an outline rather than piecing it together from previous material. It was about a month later when I had three people ask me to coach them so they could get their books published and so I created the course “Your Right to Write.”

I created an outline format for them to follow, when you break your book into 15 to 18 chapters, create 15 talking points for each chapter and three points per talking point, the book will write itself.

When following this outline procedure, the typical 200 page book takes 75 hours to write. If you write an hour a day you can have your book finished in two months including editing.

This process works for fiction as well as non-fiction. The pressure to write is minimized and the work flows naturally.

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