How To Write a Book in 30 Days


5. Create Chapters

Let’s Review:

The first step we took on this journey was to simply ‘begin writing’ – to develop the habit of writing on a regular schedule. In the end, writers write; if you’re not writing regularly, you may want to be a writer someday, but you’re not a writer now.


Who can’t relate to the idea of leaving one chapter behind and moving on to the next?

Mike Shinoda

American musician, Linkin Park

Writing regularly and writing a book are two different things, though. A book is an idea or collection of ideas structured around a central theme in a logical progression in long form (in this case, we’re shooting for 30,000 words).

Module 5: Create Chapters

by Steve Spillman | How to Write a Book in 30 Days

Collecting those ideas and structuring them around a central theme in a logical progression is what we’ve been doing in our last three lessons – the ones that come after ‘begin writing.’ Those next steps were:

    • gather ideas
    • plot your course
    • create an outline

Now that we’ve developed a habit of writing, gathered our ideas, plotted our course, and created an outline, we can get down to the business of writing a book! This is the good part; it’s also the ‘work’ part. Let’s begin, shall we?

At this stage, we’ll begin putting flesh on the bones of the skeleton, the structure of our outline.

Fleshing Out Ideas

Using the outline we’ve created from our last session, we simply begin at point (1) in the outline, our main idea, or our first bullet point under point (1). our first sub-idea and begin writing what’s stored up inside.

Nothing happening? Nothing stored up? That’s a common feeling. More like a universal feeling among writers when they face a blank screen.

Here’s the cure: just begin writing. Don’t worry, don’t think; just begin writing. Whatever you write now is just between you and the screen; nobody is looking over your shoulder, and nobody is judging it. Stay focused on the idea you’re supposed to be writing about, but don’t try to make it perfect, don’t try to test it to even see if it makes sense. Just write about the subject you’ve chosen. Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” He also said, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.” If Hemingway admitted it, it’s okay for us to face it. Just pick your first point on the outline and begin writing.

This exercise, besides putting flesh on the bones of your book, will reveal two valuable results:

1. It will reveal everything you know about the subject – things you didn’t consciously know you knew, but, as I said earlier, have been ‘stored up’ inside you that the writing of them has brought out. This is an amazing phenomenon that happens when writers write – what comes out often surprises the writer more than anyone!

2. It will reveal what you don’t know about your subject – we’ll get to that in a later session. Right now, your only job is to write – outline point by outline point – everything that comes out. No judging, no rewriting, no ‘researching’ (also known as procrastinating). All that comes at a later stage.

Now it’s your turn. Get started!


  1. Open a new document and title it “Chapter One.” Add the first main idea on your outline and any of the bullet points under the first idea. Add a few spaces between the main idea and the sub-ideas; I want you to have a bit of breathing room in between.
  2. Start writing. Begin with the main idea if you can. Just write. If nothing is coming or if one of the sub-ideas seems more urgent, begin there. You can always go back to the main ideas after you’ve cleared whatever is most urgent. Oftentimes what you write in the subideas can help you clarify what you want to communicate in the beginning of your chapter. Again just write. Write until there nothing else in there or until you feel like the section you’re working on is complete.
  3. Look at everything you’ve written previously. Does any of it fit into the first chapter you will be creating from your outline? Go ahead and add anything you’ve written previously to where it fits in your chapter.
  4. Don’t spend time perfecting what you’ve written at this point. You can arrange your ideas in a basic order, but don’t try to make this the finished product. It isn’t. We handle that in later lessons.
  5. Move to the next idea in your outline and repeat the process. When you’ve gone through this process for all of the ideas and sub-ideas in your outline, you won’t have a finished book, but you will have the beginnings of a rough draft. You will have added some flesh to bones of you outline.

In our next lesson, we’ll talk about writing for your audience (a lot of starving writers hate this part, that’s why they’re starving). Who is going to buy this book you’re writing, and why we need to talk about it now before we go any further?

Click here to visit module 6 “Determine Your Audience”