With creativity; less is more. Without creativity; less is less.Ronald Anton (b.1985), Canadian designer
If you are planning on writing a non-fiction book, but don’t know where to start, here’s some ideas of how you can get it done in minutes flat, not over a period of many months. Even if you aren’t planning on writing a book, this can be a fun exercise in rapid research and getting things done quickly.
There are a few ways of doing this and you can try them in isolation, or combine them and note the similarities and differences in the results.
- Get together a group of people who might be interested in, or knowledgeable about, the subject you want to write about. Then:-
- Ask them to list the chapters they’d expect to see in the book.
- Ask them to ask you the questions they’d expect to get answers to from the book.
- Ask them if there’s any background information they’d want or need for referencing.
- Do this on your own, using your own ideas, based on the above. Go to the internet and your bookshop of choice, find books with similar content to yours, and check their contents pages to see if there’s anything that might be missing.
- Structure the chapters, questions and ideas in a way that makes sense.
If it’s an area of expertise, ask yourself the ten most frequently asked questions that you get – and answer them. The chances are when you are offering a service regularly, you end up answering these questions in a parrot-fashion because you’ve found a script that works. That script is the basis of your chapters.
There’s your book structure sorted, and probably some of the content just writes itself pretty easily. You can now research the bits you don’t know, and write to a definite plan. You even know people who will want to read what you write because you’ve already asked them. It really doesn’t have to be any harder than that.
That’s how I often put my books together. A framework of chapters and questions can be quickly written and then you just need to write the meat of the content. I also had the opportunity to talk to a group of business people, and in under ten minutes they outlined what they wanted to see.
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This creativity tip comes from Build Your Own Idea Factory: 68 ways to boost your creativity and get inspired by David Norrington