Before you start writing the book

1.1 How to find the time and where to write
1.2 What topic should you be writing about?
1.3 Planning and organizing the ebook
1.4 Deadlines
1.5 Where to get your motivation from
1.6 Keep working

1.1 How to find the time and where to write

“Time is money”. No. Money can be increased. Time will always stay limited and money can’t buy you time. Certainly it is the most precious resource there is.

You can’t increase the time you have but you can better organize it and make a better use of it.

Of course on this topic I can only speak for myself. I don’t know you so I can’t tell you how to do it.

Anyway there is an entire multimedia entertainment industry you could be spending your spare time with. Maybe without even realizing how much time you actually spend on it. Whether it’s watching TV or reading so called news on the web or in papers. Do you need them all? With “so called news” I don’t mean news about politics, culture, finance, … I mean news about celebrities, technology, … Personally I was spending half an hour a day reading news and rumors about Apple Inc. and I’m glad I stopped doing that.
You maybe don’t have any TV at all and are not reading useless news on the web. In that case I’m sure you will find other things in one of your days where you could ask yourself “Do I need to do it? What do I get out of it?”.

If you’re riding a train or a subway to go to work every morning and go back home in the evening you can use that time to think, develop or even write the book. It could also be a good way to gain distance from work.

Most of the E-Book you’re currently reading was written on an iPhone riding trains all across Switzerland looking at the landscapes going by for inspiration or in a park sitting by the river. To work on a book you don’t have to lock yourself in a room and sit in front of a computer. Taking a breath of fresh air is the best thing you can do. Furthermore writing the book somewhere else than at home helps you avoiding distractions. It’s important for you to create a peaceful and quiet environment for you to be able to concentrate on your writing. Too much noise, e-mails coming in, phones ringing, etc. may keep you from being productive.

Going to sleep later may also be a solution but you always have to get the sleep you need. The amount of time you get out of it is limited if at all and could cause serious health damage. That’s not a good solution.

1.2 What topic should you be writing about?

Currently most of the E-Books are eLearning books which I guess it’s also what people are looking for when looking for E-Books. Buying an E-Book usually people want to learn something. Self-help, self-improvement and tutoring are always good. It’s up to you to choose the topic to write on. What are you interested in? Any hobbies? Any experience you would like to share? Just don’t write about n’importe quoi.

No matter what you’re writing about you should write about something you like and you should write with passion. Always believe in what you’re doing. Of course even if you like the topic you’re writing about there will be times in which you will get tired of writing but there will be good and fun times too.

1.3 Planning and organizing the ebook

Before you start writing the book on your computer you should take quite some time to plan and organize the work and the book itself. The preparation is the most important part of writing the book.

What should the book talk about? What do people want to know about the topic? What do you want to tell them? How do you want to organize it? Think about the structure of the book. What should be discussed first and what last?

Even in the digital-millennium the best way to do it is with pen and paper. Preferably a blank white page. Put down all your ideas with keywords and make sketches on how to organize the book. Paper is highly “portable” and fast. You can write, rewrite, sketch, draw and reorganize with no limitations. I usually end up taking notes of ideas on all the papers laying on my desk while brainstorming. Often I have ideas popping up in my mind at night while waiting for sleep. I wouldn’t like to start my computer, wait for it to boot, have the bright light of the screen getting me awake. I could say “I will write it down tomorrow” but I may forget it until “tomorrow”. Paper is always there ready to be written on and is found almost everywhere you go. Another advantage of paper is that you can focus on it. There are no new e-mails to read, no websites to visit, updates to be made or error-alerts interfering with your work and keeping you from being productive.

Keep in mind that every change to the book will take three times longer while you’re writing the book or after you wrote it than it takes while you’re planning it.

1.4 Deadlines

Deadlines are useful. Give yourself a deadline. Choose a day of a month on which you have to publish the book. The deadline should be scary but not too scary, it must be realistic. Also keep in mind that it’s often not about reaching a goal, it’s more about working in that direction which matters. A goal is to be used as a reference, that’s the way you want to go. Of course there’s a small problem: if you give yourself a deadline you can delay it as you wish. Who checks whether you reached the goal or not? To solve that make your deadline as public as possible. Publish it on your Facebook wall if you’re a Facebook user for all your friends to see it. Publish it on your blog or tell it your friends. This increases the pressure. Pressure is not always negative. Pressure can also be helpful since it has you working on the book.

1.5 Where to get your motivation from

It is important to keep your eyes on your target.

If you believe in what you do then you shouldn’t have many problems finding your motivation. There will always be times in which you’re more motivated than in others. But that’s ok. Have a break and I’m sure you will get new ideas while not explicitly thinking about it.

You can also get support from your friends and family. However sharing your ideas with others may not always be a clever idea, not because they may steal your ideas but because they may not be as convinced and enthusiastic as you are.

One thing which motivates me to continue to work on my projects is Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005.

I think he was a great person but most of all he was a person who believed in what he was doing which made him be what he was: a man with a vision whose dreams came true.

1.6 Keep working

In a time where everybody wants to be an author, everybody wants to be a musician, everybody wants to be a photographer, a webmaster and make their own movie and in a time where everybody has the means to do so you have to find a special way to do it to not drown in the mass but stand out of it.

It’s all about making the difference.

Keep believing in what you do. Go your way, follow your dream or vision and keep working. To make your product special and different from other similar products you have to keep working on it and improving it. Always.

This doesn’t mean you will have to invest the same amount of time into it as when you originally wrote the book over and over but from time to time improve your product. Possibly on a regular basis.

“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world,
are the ones who do”

(Steve Jobs)

“Stay hungry,
Stay foolish”

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Thank you for visiting and supporting my website,
Cédric

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3 Responses to Before you start writing the book

  1. ordi obinna says:

    i am thinking on working on my first e book and this is post is a great way to start,thanks for giving me and other writers a head start.

  2. Marlin says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this informative article. I enjoyed it. It was to the point and well written. It kept my interest.

    Thanks,
    Marlin

  3. miguel arroyo says:

    thank you for sharing, it really inspire me to keep positive Day by Day. it really help me on how start my own e book. thank you, miguel

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