The Writing Process – Self Publishing Case Study
How do you write? Last week, I shared my planning process for the ebook I’m updating. This week, I’d like to talk about the writing process. As I was writing this, I saw a post on Google+ from Chris Brogan that shared his writing frame (also check out his post on book structure). Mine was also pretty similar. But should you always use a writing frame or should you just free wheel? I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer, but here’s how I do it.
Writing by Freewheeling
Do you ever have those moments where you have a burning idea or flash of inspiration that you just can’t wait to write down? When that happens to me, I get a piece of paper and a pen (if it’s night-time) or go to my computer and type or dictate as fast as I can. That’s because I don’t want to disturb the spark and perhaps lose it forever.
On the plus side, this approach usually results in some creative turns of phrase and interesting reader, but the down side is that it’s totally unstructured. Whipping the product of a freewheeling exercise into shape can be a nightmare. While the original writing process is quick, the editing process takes a long, long time. That’s sometimes OK for personal writing projects, but it’s not the best approach for everything.
Using A Frame for Writing
I write a lot. It’s mostly non-fiction comprising blog posts, articles and ebooks for clients, with a bit of my own stuff thrown in. To streamline the process, I use a frame. This is my frame for blog posts and articles, but it also works well for crafting ebook sections:
2. Intro or Question
3. Subhead about 1st point
4. Point 1
5. Subhead about 2nd point
6. Point 2 (and so on for as many points as you want to make)
7. Conclusion – making sure the question in the intro has been answered.
8. Look for a photo
The plan I created last week for my ebook works on the same basis. If I use the plan, it will guide me on the areas I want to cover and, depending on how many sub-sub-areas I set out, keep me focused on the specifics of each section. That perhaps means less creativity, but in return I get a better structure. It’s a trade-off which mostly works well for me.
What About Writing Research?
Whether you’re writing a new book or updating an old one, you’re going to have to do some research at some point. Even if you’re a subject expert, there’ll be names and dates to check and links to gather. When should you do this? Check back next time and I’ll share my process.
Image courtesy of Ambling Sheep
Check out the rest of the series:
- Lessons From My First Attempt at Self-Publishing
- Thinking About Ebook Design: Self Publishing Case Study
- Book Planning with Workflowy: Self Publishing Case Study
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