Deciding to write a book is both daunting and exciting. While the thought of scooping together 30,000-50,000+ words in a document can be downright scary, your topic is [hopefully] one you’re passionate about and your message is one you’re looking forward to sharing with your target audience.
But while passion is pretty helpful in identifying your book vision, it’s rarely enough to keep you moving forward when the going gets rough.
Like when you hit that unexpected brick wall, or you start running out of steam, or the flame that once lit you up has dimmed. What do we do then?
It’s been my experience that the sneaky culprit behind this dilemma is often a lack of clarity as to what our book vision actually is. And by that I mean our book vision is initially sometimes much too broad to give us the clear blueprint we need to keep us going when we just don’t feel we can.
Learning how to develop a more detailed blueprint of our book vision is key to focusing on what truly drives our story. It will help us write for the sake of the story, not for shock value. And it guides us in determining which details to include (both negative and positive) that service the work versus just writing to “get it off our chest.”
So then, how do narrow our book vision in a way that allows us to truly identify, clearly outline, and maintain it?
Identify: ask yourself what it is you are truly passionate to share. Ask yourself why you’re passionate about it, what your goal is in sharing it, and what you hope to accomplish by completing your project.
Place a word or phrase at the top of a blank page that describes in general your book vision. Then list additional words and phrases below that to further articulate, with greater specificity, your book vision until you have truly uncovered the core vision of your book.
This process helps you move from “Here’s what I want to write.” to “Here are the clear reasons this topic is important to me, the key points and concepts I absolutely want to get across to my audience, and what end result I truly wish to reach.”
Outline: take each of the words/phrases you drafted during the “identify” phase and use bullet points and sub-bullet points to further flesh out your book vision. This may end up looking like a grade school mind map as you create a visible outline of what your book vision actually looks like.
Getting your thoughts and goals organized this way will help you stay focused, and know where to go next, once you start drafting your actual manuscript. And it will help you maintain that forward movement when you feel your energy waning.
Maintain: once you start the writing process, the key to staying true to your book vision you worked so diligently to identify and organize is to frequently ask yourself the following questions. Is the content I’m writing—dialog, scenes, etc.—in alignment with the core vision I identified? Do the components of each section/chapter correlate to the key points I outlined?
Using the “identify-outline” process will help you get focused and thereby make it easier to know what to write next when you’re unsure. Because having a crystal-clear outline makes navigating the moments of overwhelm and confusion much easier to get through.
These three steps will become a lifesaver at some point in your writing journey. They will help you ensure you are creating content that is both necessary and beneficial to uphold your book vision. They will help you write with less rambling and more clarity. And they will help you share your message of inspiration, motivation, education, and encouragement without questioning the level of impact you are making.
If you have questions about creating a clear book vision, please feel free to contact me!