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Making Big Manageable

By July 30, 2009How To, Writing

million little pieces

“You’re ghostwriting a book? But a book is like, a bookit’s so long!”

I’m noticing that other writers and non-writers are book-shy – they keep saying things like that ditty above. A book sounds long, it feels long, it takes a long time to read. I get that, but there is a solution.

I decided to write this post and talk about my management process of ghostwriting a book (or writing your own, for that matter) hoping that it would open some space and opportunity in your head, network, workflow.

A book does sound big to me too, fyi. Here’s how I make big manageable:

  • First, stop thinking about it as a book (except when you’re bragging that you’re writing a book to other people). It’s really not, you know, it’s just like a zillion blog posts, a million articles.
  • To find these many zillions and millions of pieces, you need a good outline. Solid, organized, accepted by the author with knowledge from both of you that it can and will probably change.
  • This outline isn’t organized by chapters, you have to go smaller than that – break down the chapters into sections. Break it down as far as it will go.
  • Create a schedule where you write sections every day, not chapters, just sections.
  • Don’t look at the whole enchilada, keep your eyes focused – section by section, chapter by chapter.

In this case, it’s one section at a time. But they’re done in succession. The voice, the syntax, the flow – all constants. Look at the picture of the flower up above. Each little petal is different, unique – and by itself, just a petal. But they’re connected, by the base of the flower, their colors and their textures…and together they make a truly glorious masterpiece.

Image credit: spakattack

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Julie: I particularly like the part about breaking it up into sections and making a plan to complete one section at a time. It does make the process seem more manageable.

  • Alexis Grant says:

    I struggle with this daily, and always have to remind myself that my book is DOABLE. When it seems overwhelming, I try to focus solely on the scene at hand.

  • --Deb says:

    I guess I’m lucky. The first thing I ever wrote (outside of things for school) WAS a book, so the idea of the size doesn’t intimidate me like it might otherwise.

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