Do you have a book idea trapped inside that you just can’t seem to get onto paper? I was struggling myself with how to actually get started when deciding to write my first book. But then I came up with what turned out to be a very fun idea—I decided to create a rough scrapbook using a 3-ring binder and some blank paper. I wrote on the front of the notebook a rough idea for a title, and then on the very first page inside I just wrote the words “introduction,” which seemed like a safe chapter title for the beginning of my book.
From that point, I just started writing a chapter subject at the top of each blank sheet of paper and underneath started listing ideas for the topics that might be included in that chapter. I also started numbering the chapters but quickly discovered that since my book was actually set up as steps, that there were steps I was missing between each chapter, so some of my chapters became step 3.5 and 3.75, so that I could insert them between chapters 3 and 4.
Now every time I have a thought about something I want to include in my book, I just go to that chapter/step page and add the notes or thoughts. And if there isn’t a chapter or step yet for that idea then I just add a new chapter/step page to my binder. If one of the chapters/steps turns out to not be needed, or is duplicated somewhere else, I can just pull it out and toss it.
The whole idea for making this work is that It’s “scrappy” which keeps it really simple. Plus if you are the only one who understands any of it that’s fine too, since it’s your book idea slowly becoming a reality!
I haven’t started the next step yet, as I’m still adding notes to my chapter pages, but the other nice thing about this concept is that you can add pages you have printed off the internet, or photos/illustrations easily by just punching holes in them and adding them wherever they fit best… and can easily be moved later if you change your mind.
Sometimes doing this type of brainstorming on the computer is simply more complicated, and was actually holding me up from getting started. To start putting it onto the computer seemed to represent permanency, and since I was still in the brainstorming, scrappy stage, permanency was holding me back from starting.
Once I have a page or chapter in my notebook completed enough for the next step, then I will go to the computer and actually start writing material for that chapter. And once those pages are completed I can again print them out and punch holes into them and add them physically to my binder which will be an excellent way to see that I am actually making progress as my binder grows.
Another advantage to this method is that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you have to write on when another idea comes to mind that you just have to get written down. You can tape a napkin or Post-it note, or envelope, or whatever to one of the pages in your binder and it becomes a part of your book!
Possibly it’s my age, or just where I am in life right now, but for me this was the answer to finally getting my book started, and to finally making some progress. I’d love to hear what has worked for you, or what ideas you have tried for getting your book beyond dream stage to reality. Please comment below if you have ideas to share, or send me a private message if you are finished with the writing stage and you’d like my help in realizing your dream of self-publishing.