How to create a skeletal outline for your book

Introduction:

My sister wants to write a book. I’ve never written a book.. yet, but I do have over 100 blog topics and series ready and waiting for me to write up and publish. She wanted to know what my process was for setting up an outline like that, and so I’ll do what I’m coming to appreciate as a favorite hobby by now; I’ll lay out the process via post. Shaina, this one’s for you.

 

First, watch this:

No seriously, don’t skip it. He gives invaluable tips to help you understand the process of writing and how to hack your mind to actually get your work done… and QUICKLY. 

 

My process:

Just before starting this blog, I was wondering how I could share the method, journey, and incredible results I’ve gotten from all my Radical Life Experiments. Thinking a book might be the way to go, I began to construct an outline.

Once I had this outline, organized with series-topics and multiple experiments under each, I simply converted it all into an organized structure to base this blog on. Because as Stephen says in the video above, writing out chapters is just like writing blog posts. Each chapter is one post. Treating it this way makes the writing very bite-able, do-able, and not as overwhelming as approaching a big book project.

 

Stage 1: Finding your topic/ narrowing things down.

Off the bat, you know you have a book to write, but don’t have just a single topic narrowed out yet. You know you’re passionate about a number of things and want to somehow fit them all in.

Ask yourself this: Is there a theme running through all these topics that I could name? Could these many topics be used as sub-categories? Or do I need to eliminate some and focus in on just one or two or three that are most cohesive?

 

Stage 2: Brainstorming.

Take a sheet of paper and write down every single topic or general idea having to do with what it is you’d like to write about. Everything.

For me, I wrote down every single life experiment that I’ve already done and also those I was interested in doing in the future.

 

Stage 3: Organizing the mess.

I began to find a few themes running through my different experiments. Ex: minimalism, clean eating, travel, etc.

You will have your main topic; your book title (what’s this book about?), and then the general themes you’ve sorted out; these will be your topic-series or chapters, under which go the more detailed content you’ll be exploring or covering.

 

Voila! You now have an outline (a skeleton if you will) to build your book’s body on. Easy peazy lemon squeazy, 1, 2, 3, done.

 

Hot Tip: For all you writers out there, my sister-in-law introduced me to what’s her Writer’s Bible. The bits that I was able to grab while in her home were so impactful, I’ve been using and applying them to all my writing since. Currently on my wish-list and so awesome I want to share it here, it’s called Writing Down the Bones by: Natalie Goldberg.

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2 thoughts on “How to create a skeletal outline for your book

  1. YES! Goal scored. Awesome. So glad to be of service. Sometimes things are SO SIMPLE, but seem terribly and dramatically overwhelming. I find that breaking it down like this into small steps helps get my head out of the way and put things into perspective.

    Like

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