You’ve begun to write on a regular schedule; that’s awesome! But you’ve got so many ideas, so many things you want to include in your book. How can you corral all those ideas into some manageable sequence that makes sense to you and, more importantly, makes sense to your reader? At this point, it can be difficult to even know where to start.
When I’m just beginning a book I try, at first, just to get my ideas out of my brain and in front of my eyes. I don’t worry about their order or if they fit or if they’re important to what I want the book to eventually become. Nothing matters now but getting them out.
For this task, I use an ‘analog modular capture and recording system’ … otherwise known as PostIt® notes. This exercise is easy, productive, and amazingly liberating! All we’re doing is getting our thoughts out. What are the pieces (eventually they’ll be chapter candidates) of information that will make up the central theme or message of your book? Remember they don’t have to be perfect, in order, or even right … they just have to be out there.
Now that you have a stack of PostIts® with all the ideas or ‘pieces’ in front of you, out of your brain and onto paper, you can begin sorting the pieces, but we’ll cover that next week, your job today is to grab some PostIts® and start writing!
*Technical note: I love real PostIt® notes – something about the analog experience. But after I’ve written and sorted my PostIts® I need to transfer the info into a digital format so I can keep them organized without losing them. It would save me some time if I could do my PostIt® note exercise digitally from the get-go rather than transferring ideas from my brain to bits of paper, and then to my digital files.
I’m an Evernote® fan and I can write PostIt-like notes in Evernote®, but the software is clunky when it comes to moving the bits around during the sorting process. Now I’m trying Scrivener® – seems to be made for that. More on this next week too.
Let me know how your PostIt® note exercise goes.